An incident occured on Saturday morning (11 July) on the administrative boundary line in the South Ossetia conflict zone, as a result of which one Georgian man was injured and detained by the Tskhinvali de facto authorities.
According to a report carried by RES news agency, which is the mouthpiece of the authorities of the self-declared Republic of South Ossetia, the man was named as 33 year old Zaza Mikhailovich Kakheladze. The Ossetian agency said that the man "entered into the territory of South Ossetia in the vicinity of the village of Akhmadz in the Leningori region. When challenged by the South Ossetian border authorities he fired several shots at them with a shotgun. Kakheladze was wounded in the ankle by the return fire and was subsequently detained ".
The agency said that at present the necessary medical assistance has been provided to the violator, and his state of health is satisfactory and stable. It is understood that the detained person is from the village of Kvemo Chala which is in the immediate vicinity of the administrative boundary line between Tbilisi controlled territory and territory controlled by Russian troops and local South Ossetian allies.
In a swift reaction to the incident, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia said that the illegal detention of a Georgian citizen by Russian occupation forces is a gross violation of the ceasefire agreement. "This is a blatant and gross violation of the ceasefire agreement. Unfortunately, recently, as a result of various types of provocations, the security environment on the ground has been further aggravated, for which the occupation regime is unequivocally responsible. Now, at this moment, it is important that our citizen returns to the territory controlled by the Georgian government as soon as possible" Lasha Darsalia said. Darsalia added that he had been in touch with the co-chair of the Geneva International Process (representatives of the EU, UN and OSCE) on this matter.
The area around Akhalgori (referred to sometimes as Leningori) is a particularly problematic part of the South Ossetia conflict zone due to the fact that the territory came under Russian and South Ossetian jurisdiction during the 2008 Georgia-Russia war. Continued Russian presence in the area is in violation of the cease fire agreement brokered at the time by French president Nikola Sarkozy on behalf of the Euroipean Union which stipulates that all sides had to return to their positions before the fighting started. Attempts by Russian border guards and local proxies to set up a physical border in the area, that sometimes divides local people from their traditional farming land, has been a source of great hardship to the local communities, and has been condemned by Georgia.
Russia recognised the Tskinvali based South Ossetian leadership as an independent country after the 2008 war, and currently maintains a large military base on the territory. The international community recognises South Ossetia as part of Georgia. Earlier this week Russia announced that it was holding military exercises in South Ossetia, 3500 troops and 800 tanks, vehicles and military hardware are involved.
related content on commonspace.eu: Russian military hold drills in South Ossetia
photo: A South Ossetian checkpoint (picture courtesy of RES news agency, Tskhinvali)
The incident appears to have erupted after a 27-year-old resident of Kulakam village was reported to have been murdered.