Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili stated on May 20 that 14 patients have died in Russia-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia due to lack of access to healthcare services since the crossing-point closure in early September 2019.
Minister Tsikhelashvili made her late evening remarks following the recent death of Jumber Miladze, a 63-year-old patient from ethnic Georgian-majority Akhalgori Municipality of occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, who had been denied the transfer to Tbilisi-controlled territory by the Moscow-backed authorities for several days.
The delayed transfer, Tsikhelashvili said, had “very negatively” affected his health, and while finally being delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only international organization permitted by Tskhinvali authorities in the region, the man died on his way to the hospital from a stroke.
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In her remarks, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili also spoke of renewed ‘borderization’ on the dividing line between Abkhazia and Georgia proper, adjacent to Tbilisi-controlled villages of Khurcha and Ganmukhuri.
Noting that although fencing the dividing line has been suspended by the occupying forces, Minister Tsikhelashvili said ‘borderization’ during the COVID-19 pandemic “clearly shows the face of the occupying regime,” which is “illegal” and “inhuman,” and causes additional problems to the local population on the ground.