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The situation in the conflict zone

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, December 2
A couple days ago, Russian border guards renewed the installation of frontier banners and barbed wire fences in the villages of Dvani and Ghogheti of Kareli district. There is a warning indicating that the transition boundary is prohibited in the Ossetian, Russian, English and Georgian languages.

After the installation of the banners, the guards in Ghogheti fields installed wire poles filling the gaps. About 30 families live near the new borderline. Locals urged law enforcement agencies to enhance security measures.

The Head of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said patrolling has been escalated at a nearby village in the occupied territories. According to David Sujashvili, the international organizations have been informed about the recent incidents. More detailed information will be handed over to foreign diplomats in Georgia next week.

Russian border guards became active a few days ago, in Gori district too, where they arrested local residents in their village, Khurvaleti. Malkhaz Vanishvili and Gocha Makishvili were arrested for crossing the border.

Following a reduction in fencing activities since late September, the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) expressed its concern over the recent resumption of the installation of fences along the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia. “This comes amidst the acceleration of the installation of sign posts warning people not to pass. The Mission has activated the Incident Prevention and Response Hotline, calling on all sides to exchange information about these latest developments.”

According to the EUMM, a patrol was sent to the Dirbi-Ghogheti area and observed the installation of red metal poles along an estimated 160-metre stretch of land, including barbed wire over a 35-metre stretch. Besides the resumption of the installation of fences, the Mission has also noted a recent intensification of the installation of sign posts in the area, some of them in the middle of cultivated land.

“As winter is approaching, we call on all parties to take into account the potential impact on people’s livelihood and resources and on their ability to sustain themselves during this difficult time of the year. The EUMM will continue patrolling the area and facilitating the exchange of information among parties through the Hotline, in order to prevent and reduce potential tensions in the area,” stated the Head of the EUMM, Toivo Klaar.

The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, also wrote on his official Facebok page that once again, Russian military are restarting the installation of barriers along the administrative border lines inside Georgia. “This will only further complicate the lives of people whose freedom of movement, and often their livelihoods, are arbitrarily cut off. It also remains in violation of Russia's international commitments, and should both stop and be reversed,” Appathurai said.

Georgian officials and analysts believe that Russia put pressure on Georgia by creating incidents on the border line because of the Vilnius summit.