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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgian TV: Chechen Rebel Killed in Gun Battle in Pankisi

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgian forces killed an armed Chechen in a gun battle in the Pankisi Gorge, where Russia alleges Chechen rebels have bases, the Rustavi-2 television station reported Wednesday.

The report said the exchange of fire took place near Duisi, a sizeable village at the mouth of the gorge, but further details were not immediately available. Georgian officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

Georgia has launched a police operation in the gorge, but Russia says it is unimpressed by the results. On Wednesday, Georgian troops detained 12 Chechens in three villages in the gorge, Interior Ministry spokesman Paata Gomelauri said. He said weapons and computers were seized from the suspects.

Meanwhile, General Anatoly Kvashnin, the chief of the General Staff, was quoted by Interfax as saying that Russia had deployed additional army units to help border guards on the frontier with Georgia.

Kvashnin told reporters in the State Duma that a plan to strengthen security on the border with Georgia and Azerbaijan had been approved at his meeting Tuesday with Putin.

Russian officials have proposed creating a "security zone" up to 40 kilometers deep on the territory of Georgia, but Deputy Georgian Security Minister Lasha Natsvlishvili on Wednesday rejected the idea, saying a zone of that size was tantamount to Russia demanding "to create a so-called security zone almost around Tbilisi."