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Georgia slams Russia, de facto authorities over Sachkhere incident

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, May 20
Tbilisi has condemned a May 18 incident in Sachkhere region, when as a result of a shooting by the militaries deployed at the administrative border with Tskhinvali region, 2 Georgian citizens were wounded. One of the wounded persons, a 17-year-old school pupil was moved to Tbilisi Republican Hospital with “serious injuries,” officials reported. According to doctors, the wounded teenager’s condition remains “heavy but stabile.” Georgian Minister of Healthcare, Andria Urushadze visited the wounded young man on Thursday night.

In its special statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry assessed the incident as a “yet another criminal act of unjustifiable brutality committed by the occupation troops.” “Evidently, the Russian Federation and its proxy regimes continue to pursue their aggressive policy of destabilization aimed at terrorizing the local population,” the statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website reads.

Tbilisi has laid the responsibility over the Sachkhere incident on Russia. “It is high time for the Russian Federation to learn to comply with its own commitments and to be held responsible for the criminal actions perpetrated directly by the Russian troops or under their patronage,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the “irresponsible and criminal acts” of the Russian troops and the de facto regimes represent a “serious factor causing instability”. “Of special interest is the fact that following a series of terrorist acts masterminded from the occupied territories, the occupation forces have now switched to the new types of provocations. Such incidents are viewed as a gross violation by the Russian Federation of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, as well as the universally recognize norms and principles of international law,” the statement reads.

The Georgian authorities have called on Moscow to “immediately start complying” to the August 12 ceasefire agreement. “The first tangible step in this direction will be the Russian Federation’s assuming of the non-use of force commitment with respect to Georgia and providing access to international police and peacekeeping forces to the occupied territories,” the Georgian Ministry stated. Tbilisi has called on the international community to give a “due assessment” to Wednesday’s incident, saying that the Georgian side will raise issue of terrorist acts, Sachkhere and other incidents, and the illegally detained persons at the Geneva discussions and at the IPRM meetings.

The US Embassy in Georgia has also expressed its concerns over the reports of a “violent incident” at the administrative border with South Ossetia. “We urge all parties to exercise restraint in the wake of the incident, to share fully all details with the European Union Monitoring Mission and to participate as soon as possible in an ad hoc meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism. The incident highlights the ongoing need for EUMM access to both sides of the administrative boundary line,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile the US Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has called on the US for increased assistance towards Georgia. “Georgia is an important ally in a tough neighborhood. The United States should continue to strongly support Georgia’s sovereignty, to support non-military efforts to restore Georgia’s territorial integrity, to reject any claims of spheres of influence in the region and emphasize that all nations should be free to enter into alliances and relationships as they see fit,” Shaheen was quoted by The Cable as saying.