Two Polish citizens arrested for “illegally crossing the state border” were released on September 3, the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali authorities reported today.
The region’s “security service” said the two tourists were detained on September 1 near village Khodzi in Java District of Tskhinvali Region as they were trying reach Lake Keli in the neighboring Akhalgori Municipality, inside the Russian-held territory.
To verify the release and solicit additional details, Civil.ge has reached out to the European Union Monitoring Mission and the State Security Service of Georgia. Both confirmed the detention and the subsequent release, but gave no further details on the incident.
The detention comes less than a week after five Georgian hikers were arrested in the same area by Russian FSB officers, who are patrolling the boundaries of Georgia’s occupied regions.
In 2017, according to the Georgian State Security Service, the Russian troops arrested a total of 178 persons on charges of “illegal border crossing” – 126 in Tskhinvali and 52 in Abkhazia.