Thursday, October 30, 2008

Updates on Georgia

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Alarming Situation in S.Ossetia

According to information of relevant Georgian agencies and institutions, Russian Federation has tremendously increased its military capabilities on the occupied territories of Georgia. During the last week Russian military units increased their military potential in Akhalgori by 5 tanks, 22 armoured vehicle and 23 military trucks. Thus, for the time being only in Akhlagori there are located Russian Federation’s 25 tanks (T-22), 33 armoured vehicle. The number of military personnel reaches more than 400. In addition to this, at the illegal check-points opened in the Akhalgori district, Russian militaries have installed “GRAD” type missile systems.

Furthermore, during the last days Russian military units are trying to enlarge area of their activities. Precisely, October 26, on the main road connecting Dusheti district to Akhalgori one additional illegal check-point has been opened. Moreover, Adjacent territories in Dusheti district were mined.

During the last 10 days in the Ckhinvali region Russian Federation increased the number of its military personnel up to 2000. Part of this military personnel were located alongside the administrative border at the illegal check-points, and part of them inside Ckhinvali.

Also, during the last days S.Ossetian and Abkhazian separatists or groups under their control pass administrative borders with the aim to conduct subversive acts. They also frequently shell Georgian police shells outside the administrative border.

The above-mentioned developments vividly demonstrate that the Russian Federation continuous to violate August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Analysis of the data and information the Georgian side possess makes think that the threat of further large-scale military provocation from Russian side is real. Thus, international involvement to stop this provocation has decisive importance.

Grenades Fired

On 24 October 2008, at night, fire was opened from the territory controlled by Russian occupation troops in the direction of the village of Muzhava, Tsalenjikha district. Three grenades were fired towards the peaceful population. On 25 October, in the afternoon, officials of the Tsalenjikha local administration, police and representatives of the EU Monitoring Mission left for the village of Muzhava to explore the situation on the spot. Upon the approach of their cars to the village, two time bombs exploded near the scene of the incident and mortar fire was again opened from the territory controlled by Russian occupation troops. As a result, Gia Mebonia, head of the local administration of the Tsalenjikha district was killed, one policeman – wounded. EU Monitors did not sustain injuries.

On 24 October 2008, at night, over 200 militias under the control of the Russian occupation troops moved closer to the village of Khurvaleti, Gori District in the vicinity of the Tskhinvali region with the aim of carrying out an attack on the peaceful population. The situation was defused only due to the efforts of the EU Monitors.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia would like to focus attention on the fact that an increasing number of terrorist acts against Georgian officials, policemen and peaceful civilians take place against the background of deployment of an additional number of Russian military personnel and equipment on the occupied territories of Georgia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the international community to take decisive measures to prevent a new large-scale provocation designed by the Russian side against Georgia.

Tbilisi, 25 October 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Georgia Update Weekly Newsletter: 16-23 October 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

on the press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation regarding withdrawal of Russian Armed Forces from Georgia
Tbilisi, 10 October 2008

On 9 October 2008 the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a press release on the withdrawal of Russia’s so-called peacekeeping forces from Georgia in which the Russian side claims to have fulfilled ahead of time the commitment under the EU Presidency-mediated agreement.

With respect to the foregoing, the Georgian Foreign Ministry is authorized to state the following:

After Russia’s military aggression against Georgia on 7 August 2008 and occupation of large part of its territory, Russian troops deployed on the territory of Georgia can only be defined as occupation forces and any reference to their ‘peacekeeping status’ is deprived of any legal and political basis.

Despite its claims, the Russian side still continues to grossly violate the provisions of the six-point ceasefire agreement, which mandates restoration of the status quo existing prior to the breakout of hostilities.

The Russian occupation forces still illegally keep their positions near the village of Perevi, Sachkhere district, and in Akhalgori. It needs to be noted that the Georgian-populated district of Akhalgori has never been an arena of conflict; as a result of Russian military intervention, however, inhabitants of the district had to leave their homes and they still have no possibility to return.

The Russian occupation troops acting in league with Sokhumi separatists are still exercising illegal control over the territory of Upper Abkhazia, from which the local Georgian population was forcefully expelled.

In flagrant violation of Point 5 of the six-point ceasefire agreement, the Russian side still retains illegally and even increases its military presence on the territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region where, according to the official statement of the Russian Defence Ministry itself, up to 8 thousand servicemen are still present. Moreover, the Russian side continues to bar monitors of the European Union and other international organizations from accessing these regions that prevents verification of the number and composition of Russian military personnel. Furthermore, an agreement was reached with the separatist regimes on the setting up of Russian military bases in both regions, which also directly contradicts the ceasefire agreement.

Withdrawal of the Russian troops from the part of the occupied territory of Georgia was paralleled by a series of terrorist acts. Moreover, the Georgian villages, which Russian invaders and their separatist accomplices have left behind themselves are burned, ruined and destroyed. The Georgian side has been repeatedly informing the international community on the crimes committed by separatists. Now everyone will be able to assess exactly the scale of violence by armed separatists abetted and backed by Moscow. Gross and mass violation of human rights, violence, robbery and burglary can be viewed as descriptive marks of the Russian occupation regime.

Taking into consideration the high criminality level and generally the extremely severe situation on the yet occupied territories of Georgia – Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, Russia must immediately stop arms supply and training of local illegal armed formations in both regions that is one of the essential preconditions for preventing provocations and incidents. It is to be hoped that the activity of international monitors throughout the territory of Georgia will put an end to speedy militarization of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.

Whatever may be the Russian side’s approach to this, making any reference to Russia’s compliance with that part of the six-point ceasefire agreement, which deals with the restoration of the military status quo ante will become possible only after Russian occupation troops have left the entire territory of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The Russian side would be advised to realize that eventually not a single invader in military uniform will remain on the territory of Georgia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, along with the international community considers as its priority task to ensure the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to the places of their permanent residence and consequently, the elimination of consequences of the mass ethnic cleansing policy conducted by Russian occupation troops in Georgia. This is one of the key issues that will be placed at the centre of discussions during international negotiations regarding security and stability in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region scheduled to take place in Geneva.

Breaches by Russia of the Ceasefire Agreement: CHECKPOINTS

10 October 2008

The Russian Army has illegally established 25 checkpoints deep within sovereign Georgian territory, contravening the six-point ceasefire agreement brokered by France. As of 10 October 4 Checkpoints still remain in Georgia in the territories adjacent to the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia. Russian troops are also in upper Abkhazia (Kodori gorge).

There are an estimated 400 Russian soldiers and 30 Armored Personal Carriers stationed at these checkpoints. Additionally, there are an estimated 7,000 Russian soldiers in Abkhazia and in the Tskhinvali region.

List of checkpoints in the teritory adjacent to the South Ossetia Region

1. Perevi (Sachkhere district) paratroopers company, 7 APC, 3 Ural type car, 100 servicemen
2. 1 km north of Odzisi in the Akhalgori district: 6 APC, 100 Russian servicemen.
3. Village Mosabruni (Akhalgori district): 6 APC, 100 Russian Servicemen.
4. Village Ikoti (Akhalgori District): 6 APC, 100 Russian Servicemen.

This map gives an overview of the current checkpoint in the territories adjacent to South Ossetia