In a statement released on July 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry “noted with concern” that “the illegal border crossings Russian, Abkhazian and [Tskhinvali] South Ossetian borders from the Georgian side” recently became more frequent.
Moscow maintained that these incidents were of “provocative nature” since the detained individuals were wearing camouflaged attire and carried firearms. Judging by the description, these were mostly hunting rifles. Despite this “provocative” nature, Moscow said it aimed to resolve the issue in a non-politicized manner, and accused Tbilisi of staging political shows and shifting responsibility.
The Russian Foreign Ministry then “urged the Georgian authorities to put an end to provocative actions and statements, use all available dialogue formats with Russia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia,” including the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), Geneva International Discussions and the so-called informal Karasin – Abashidze meetings, “to solve existing problems in a mutually beneficial constructive manner.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that on June 13, a 24-year-old Georgian citizen wearing camouflaged attire, and armed with the Vepr hunting carbine with 28 rounds, and with binoculars – was detained by the Russian border guards 600 meters deep into Russia’s Dagestan Autonomous Republic.
On July 9, the Foreign Ministry continued, another Georgian citizen was also detained “on the territory of the Republic of Dagestan, this time deep inside the Russian territory – 9 km from the border.
It then added that “we expect from the Georgian authorities to undertake more energetic explanatory work with their population to prevent new cases of illegal border crossings.”
Moscow also slammed “the provocative comments of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, which, in the manner that has become traditional for the Americans, without understanding the essence of what is happening, fence off their Georgian protégés and put all the blame on Moscow and Tskhinvali.” This, Russian Foreign Ministry maintained, undermines the position of the U.S. as an impartial participant in GID.