Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Heads-Up: Russia Places Soldiers on Alert in Georgian Region

A Bloomberg newswire report, via The Georgian Daily, reports that:

Russia placed its soldiers and border guards on alert in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia in response to Georgian “provocations” as the first anniversary of a war between the two countries nears.

Russia routed Georgia’s U.S.-trained army in a five-day war last August over South Ossetia. In the aftermath of the conflict, Moscow recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another separatist region, as sovereign states, a move condemned by the U.S. and many European countries.

“The situation is truly alarming,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site today. “The main thing now is to prevent the shoot-outs from escalating into larger clashes.”

On Aug. 1, Russia’s Defense Ministry accused Georgia of launching mortars and grenades at observation posts near Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital. Georgia denied the claims.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said two shooting incidents had occurred on the Georgian-South Ossetian border, one on July 29 and the second yesterday. “Neither incident resulted in casualties or destruction of property,” he said. “An investigation is under way.”

The European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia has found “no evidence” that Georgia fired into South Ossetia, spokesman Stephen Bird said by telephone. The mission, which began work last October, is investigating yesterday’s incident, he said.

More here.


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