The messenger logo

Tskhinvali frees 3 Georgian citizens, media reports

By Mzia Kupunia
Wednesday, June 23
On Tuesday morning the de facto South Ossetian authorities released three Georgian citizens detained last week, news agency RIA Novosti reported. Phridon Jeranov, Karlo Niniuri and Nugzar Tsaritov had been detained by Russian border police officers at the administrative borderon charges of “illegal border crossing”. RIA Novosti reported that they were released on condition “that they never cross the border of the conflict zone again.” Meanwhile Rustavi 2 TV broadcast that the detainees were freed after paying a fine.

Former detainee Kharitov said he had been going to the village of Tikvi, in the territory controlled by the de facto authorities, to visit his mother when he was detained by the Russian border officers. The two other detainees were shepherds from villages close to the conflict zone. Later on Tuesday South Ossetian media outlets also reported the release of the Georgian citizens based on information provided by the press service of the de facto South Ossetian KGB.

Georgian officials were unable to immediately confirm the release. Deputy Governor of Shida Kartli region Giorgi Avaliani said that he had received the information he had through the media. “We are still unable to get confirmed information,” he noted.

Avaliani said five Georgian citizens detained on administrative border crossing charges are still in Tskhinvali prison. Avaliani suggested that the only measure the Georgian side can take to prevent these kinds of incidents is to tell the people living close to the administrative border to be more attentive and careful. “There are no other mechanisms we can use in this case. We cannot build a wall at the administrative border to prevent the provocations coming from the ‘border police’ deployed there,” the Deputy Governor of Shida Kartli told The Messenger.

The situation at the administrative border with the Tskhinvali region differs from that at the administrative border with Gali region, Avaliani said. “There are 36 posts at the so called border with the Tskhinvali region, whereas there are only three in Gali. It is very difficult to control all the posts where the open threat of aggression is coming from,” he noted, adding that the “complicated geographical location” also makes it “even more complicated to control the situation.”

After the negotiations in Geneva on June 8 the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship called on the sides to resume meetings of the second Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism to “address problems daily affecting the local communities.” “The IPRM has been designed to bring concrete solutions to concrete problems. Regular meetings are indispensable as incidents need to be fully investigated and appropriate responses agreed upon,” Bolat Nurgaliyev, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office, said.