The messenger logo

Russia wants to build heliports in occupied South Ossetia

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, April 2
The Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a special statement late on Wednesday protesting against the possible construction of heliports in de facto South Ossetia. On March 24 the official website of the Russian Federation said that an open auction would probably be held for awarding a state contract for the construction of heliports in Georgia’s occupied in Java and Akhalgori, in breakaway South Ossetia.

In its statement the Georgian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to pay attention to the “intensive militarisation” of Georgia’s occupied territories. “One of the components of this militarisation, together with the setting up of military bases, is the construction of heliports for military aims,” the MFA statement read. The Ministry suggested that this construction could cause “further violations” of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).

Building a military infrastructure on Georgia’s occupied territories is a violation of the basic principles and norms of international legislation and a “rude violation” of the 6-point August War ceasefire agreement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry stated. “At the same time, announcing an open auction in the occupied region of Tskhinvali is clear proof that Russia is an occupying country and is in effective control of Georgia’s occupied territories,” the statement issued on March 31 read. The Georgian Foreign Ministry also expressed its protest at “uncontrolled flights” over Georgia’s airspace, “which endanger the security of international civil aviation approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation” (ICAO).

The Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed its “firm protest against the destructive actions of the Russian Federation” and called on the international community to take “decisive measures” to stop the “militarisation” of Georgia’s occupied territories, the violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and the “occupation and annexation” of the country’s integral regions.

Meanwhile the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia issued a statement on Wednesday welcoming the release of six South Ossetian residents and two Russian citizens by the Georgian Government this week. “This is an important step in resetting the overall detainee issue,” the EUMM statement read. The EU Monitoring Mission called on the de facto South Ossetian authorities to take similar action in order to “de-escalate the situation on the ground and contribute to raising the confidence of the population living along the administrative boundary lines.”

The Georgian side released four South Ossetian residents and two Russian citizens on March 29-30. They were detained by the Georgian police after the August 2008 military conflict.