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Georgia police officer slain near Russian checkpoint

  • Story Highlights
  • Georgia's Interior Ministry: Georgian policeman killed near Russian checkpoint
  • Ministry: First law enforcement/military casualty since cease-fire last month
  • Russian authorities had no immediate comment to make on reports of shooting
  • Russia pulling forces from Georgia -- save in breakaway regions -- within a month
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(CNN) -- A Georgian policeman was shot and killed on Wednesday near a Russian checkpoint in Georgia, Georgia's Interior Ministry said.

The ministry called it the first law enforcement or military casualty since the cease-fire between Russia and Georgia last month.

The incident, which Georgia called an "attack," occurred in the village of Karaleti -- just a few hundred meters south of a Russian checkpoint, the ministry said, adding that the shooting came from the direction of the checkpoint, the ministry said.

The Russian news agency Interfax said Russian peacekeepers and Georgian policemen were searching for an "unidentified gunmen who might have shot and killed a Georgian policeman near the village of Karaleti" and were doing so at Georgia's request.

Russian officials told Georgia's Interior Ministry that Russians were not responsible for the death and that the perpetrators might have been South Ossetians, the Georgian Interior Ministry said.

The shooting happened about 12 miles (20 km) south of the disputed Georgian territory of South Ossetia.

The police officer died in a hospital after being shot in the head and the throat.

Georgian officials said they asked the Russian to let them into their checkpoint to investigate but were denied permission. Georgia has called for an investigation by a third party, such as the European Union or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Georgian officials also said they would like to conduct a probe themselves.

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On Monday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current president of the European Union, announced that Russia has agreed to withdraw forces from Georgia -- excluding the two breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- within a month.

Russian troops plan to pull out from around the Black Sea port of Poti within the next week.

The EU plans to send 200 international monitors to South Ossetia. International talks on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will take place in Geneva next month, said, Sarkozy and Medvedev. Video Watch announcement of deal on Russian troop withdrawals. »

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The Russia-Georgian conflict erupted on August 7 after Georgia's military moved to secure the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

That sparked the intervention of Russia, which pushed its troops deep into Georgia proper.

CNN's Michael Sefanov contributed to this report

All About RussiaRepublic of GeorgiaEuropean UnionOrganization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

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