Washington is concerned over information that the South Ossetian authorities erected a fence supported by the Russian military near the border with Georgia. This statement was made at a briefing head of the press service of U.S. Department of state Morgan Ortagus.
In her words, “the United States is alarmed by reports that the users of Russian support for the de facto authorities resumed construction of the fence on the Georgian territory.” Ortagus called South Ossetia, whose independence Moscow has recognized in 2009, “the Russian-occupied Georgian region”, reports TASS.
According to the spokesman, the construction of the said fence to the detriment of the residents of the area, “separates them from their agricultural land, relatives, livelihoods and critical infrastructure”. “We call for the immediate cessation of construction of new fencing and other barriers,” she said. Ortagus also made a statement that Russia maintains its “illegal occupation of 20% of Georgian territory” and urged Russia to withdraw its military units from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
August 17 new fences on the border of South Ossetia and Georgia told the news Agency Caucasus Media Open. They appeared in the village Gugutiantkari passed through the land of the two Georgian families, blocking access to two of their homes. Work on the construction of fences by Russian border guards conducted from 7 August, the newspaper writes.
In the Georgian media appeared information that the home was habitable. But the state security Service (SGB) of Georgia said OC Media that the home was not inhabited and only used for storage.
One resident Gugutiantkari told Georgian TV channel “Rustavi 2” that the locals do not intend to leave. “I was captured I was beaten by the Russian boot, they brutally tortured me, but I never left the village. I’m not leaving her now, but what do we say to our children and grandchildren?” – he explained.
There were reports that Gugutiantkari and other villages in the municipality of Gori risk to remain without water, if the fence will expand and will affect the local supply. Georgian SGB said that while the water system remains under the control of the government of Georgia.
In GBS note that fences are “illegal and destructive”. About their appearance informed Observation mission of the European Union.
According to the GBS of Georgia, 2017 the authorities of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have detained 327 citizens of Georgia of “illegal border crossing” of the unrecognized republics, writes Agenda.ge.
The Minister of foreign Affairs of Georgia Presses Zalkaliani said that “the process of creating artificial barriers suspended that, in General, is the result of successive steps of the government.” “We constantly monitor the situation and liaise with our international partners. We urge the Russian Federation to cease this illegal policy against Georgia,” – said Zalkaliani.
Foreign ambassadors and representatives of several Western diplomatic missions in Georgia on 16 August visited Gugutiantkari.
August 15, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling Russia “to withdraw its forces to the positions they occupied before the conflict, and to provide unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in accordance with its obligations under the agreement on the ceasefire of 2008.”
“The U.S. Embassy is concerned about reports that Russian-backed de facto authorities have resumed installing fences in the village Gugutiantkari, near the administrative boundary lines of occupied Russian territory of Georgia in South Ossetia”, – said in a statement the U.S. Embassy.
“This must stop,” wrote on 15 August the British Ambassador Justin McKenzie Smith in his microblog Twitter.
State Minister of Georgia for reconciliation and civil equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili twice visited Gugutiantkari since then, as work began on a new fence. She said that Russia “will have to remove the barricades, which they now set”.
“I am absolutely convinced of. My faith in it grows, when I see the absurdity of the restrictions and when I meet people who do not tolerate and will not tolerate!”, said Tsikhelashvili.
The members of the Georgian group “Russia – invader” on August 16 was not admitted by the Georgian police in Gugutiantkari. The group said they tried to reach the fence to support the local population.
According to a member of the band Gigi Makarashvili, they said it was unsafe. However, local residents not evacuated.
Members of the “Russian occupier” are among the organizers of protests at the building of the Georgian Parliament, which continued from June 20. That day in Tbilisi mass protests began after the speech of the Russian Deputy Sergey Gavrilov from the place of the speaker of the Parliament of Georgia that was inappropriate and offensive, given the role of Russia in the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
To disperse the protesters who stormed the Parliament, the police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon, resulting in at least 240 people were hospitalized, including 80 police officers.
On the night of 8 August 2008 armed conflict began in South Ossetia. By that time, many local residents have received Russian passports. In addition, in South Ossetia were units of Russian peacekeepers, Moscow was so easy to imagine his open involvement in the conflict as the protection of compatriots.
The fighting began with the attempts of the Georgian army to regain control of South Ossetia, lost in 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, almost immediately in combat with Georgian units entered units of the Russian army. The result is a five-day war killed more than 1 thousand people, of which 72 – Russian soldiers.
On 26 August 2008 Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and after repeatedly declared that this decision is not subject to revision. At present, besides Russia, the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by four countries: Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Syria.
In August 2018 Georgia filed suit against Russia in the European court of human rights (ECHR) for “a widespread practice of harassment, detentions, assaults and murders in the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia”.
While Georgia claimed that this practice “has intensified after the 2008 war”, reaching a “critical point” after the murder of Archil Tatunashvili in February 2018, the official representatives of South Ossetia called the move “absurd propaganda campaign”.
In March, the Georgian Parliament adopted a resolution on the punishment of people who violate human rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The document includes the list of persons accused or convicted of “murder, kidnapping, torture, inhumane treatment and causing serious damage to the health of the citizens of Georgia on occupied territories”, since 1991. It also introduces sanctions against those who hide such crimes.
The authorities of Russia and South Ossetia reacted negatively to the list. 2 July 2018 South Ossetia gave a list of “cynical” and “irresponsible” and “another indicator” of lack of Tbilisi “desire to realize their own guilt and to settle relations” with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.