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In Tit-for-Tat Move, Tskhinvali Places ‘Border Signs’, Flag in Chorchana-Tsnelisi Area

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The KGB of the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia announced on September 5 that “border service” crew has started works to “mark the border” in the disputed Chorchana-Tsnelisi area.

According to “security committee,” the “border guards” have placed “border signs” and raised their flag, providing a map showing the location.

Map released by Russia-backed Tskhinvali on Sept 5 shows 944.8m height, where it erected flag and “border signs” on the point N17. According to this map, Georgia-erected checkpoint in Chorchana falls a few hundred meters deeper within the occupied region.

The committee said this is the part of their “peaceful, humanitarian operation,” in response to “provocations from the Georgian side,” aimed to “ensuring security of the residents of the Republic of South Ossetia and stability in the region.”

“Foreign ministry” of occupied Tskhinvali also informed on September 5 that “humanitarian operation is underway upon the order of collaborationist Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov.

Tbilisi response

Acting Head of the State Security Service of Georgia, Vakhtang Gomelauri, who is also the candidate on the post of Interior Minister, confirmed placing the flag yesterday, however, he said, the precise location still needs to be confirmed. “Today, our main concern is that people living at the dividing line are safe,” Gomelauri said.

Acting Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili also said that everything is being done to de-escalate the situation and to ensure safety of the local population. Both officials noted that representatives of the central government are studying the situation on ground and that the hotline of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) has also been activated.

Background

Over a week ago, Tbilisi started construction of a Georgian police checkpoint between the Chorchana village in Tbilisi-controlled Khashuri Municipality and Tsnelisi village controlled by occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

Protesting the construction, Tskhinvali representatives have disrupted the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting in the village of Ergneti on 29 August, demanding from Tbilisi to remove the checkpoint.

However, officials from Tbilisi unanimously said the Georgian police checkpoint would not be dismantled. In response, Tskhinvali officials said a similar checkpoint will be constructed on the occupied side of the dividing line as well.

The following day, security officials from Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Russian Federation held a “technical meeting” in occupied village of Tsnelisi, to discuss the escalation around the Georgian police checkpoint.

The sides agreed to continue negotiations over the issues and to hold meetings in Ergneti, the village that usually hosts IPRMs.

Another “technical meeting” in Ergneti

The situation at Chorchana-Tsnelisi area has been discussed again on September 2 and September 6 in Ergneti. The next “technical meeting” has been scheduled for next Friday, September 13.

Following today’s meeting, Deputy Director of the Analytical Department of the State Security Service of Georgia, Irakli Antadze, reiterated that no agreement has been achieved over the issue, and that opinions are still “diametrically opposed.”

Responding to journalists’ question about the precise location of the new sign-posts, Antadze responded: “it is located on the central government-controlled territory” adding “as we, however, talked many times [before] the occupation line is just a notion.”

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

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