Russian border guards begin defending S. Ossetia, Abkhazia

Russian border guards say they have begun defending the de facto borders between Georgia and its two breakaway regions. The deployment, announced Saturday, quickly followed the signing of a deal that formalized Russia's control over the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the regions at the center of last summer's brief war. Russia has kept thousands of troops in the two regions since the fighting, including in border areas. The US and European Union consider this a violation of the cease-fire, which called for all troops to be pulled back to positions held before the war.