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Two Injured in S.Ossetia Shootout

A Georgian policeman was injured in a shootout which occurred in the South Ossetian conflict zone late on May 12, Georgian sources reported.

Russian news agencies quoted an official at the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping troops as saying that a civilian, a resident of Tskhinvali, was also ?slightly injured? in the incident.

Reports say that there were two ?intensive shootouts? involving the use of automatic rifles and grenade launchers ? in the evening between the area of southern Tskhinvali and the Georgian villages of Nikozi and Ergneti and at midnight in the area between northern Tskhinvali and the adjacent Georgian villages of Tamarasheni and Kverneti.

The Georgian side has blamed South Ossetian militias for initially opening fire.

However, Interior Minister of breakaway South Ossetia Mikhail Mindzaev told the Russian television station, NTV, that his forces had been forced to respond after the Georgian side tried to attack Tskhinvali.

The incidents come in the wake of Tbilisi’s decision to appoint its loyal alternative South Ossetian leader, Dimitri Sanakoev, as head of the provisional administration of the region on May 10.

In response, South Ossetian secessionist leader Eduard Kokoity ordered the closure of roads and the effective blockade of Georgian villages in the region starting from May 11 ? the day when Sanakoev addressed the Georgian parliament.

Kokoity said that the South Ossetian side would reopen the roads only after Tbilisi had disbanded its ?puppet government? led by Sanakoev.

Meanwhile, Sanakoev has condemned the shootouts and accused the Tskhinvali-based authorities of ?a deliberate attempt to escalate tensions and provoke armed confrontation.?

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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