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US Ambassador about creeping occupation

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 19
US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly states he “is shocked” by the most recent activities of Russia on the territory of Georgia, referring to erecting of new “border signs” quite close to the country’s key highway, linking eastern and western Georgia.

The Ambassador says after he visited the occupation line the borders “are too close” to the main highway.

“I was quite shocked to see how close these new borders are to the highway…it is really appalling and it has an impact on a human level, as farmers cannot access their land and people cannot freely move, they cannot freely trade,” Kelly said.

The Ambassador stressed the importance of international support to Georgia.

He stated that the international community should stand by Georgia to become a fully democratic state.

“We also have to support Georgia’s efforts in the Geneva Talks [an international format on Georgia’s conflict issues established after the Russia-Georgia 2008 war].”

Kelly said foreign allies should support Georgia by deterring further violations of its sovereignty and become a democratic, resilient, free-market economy.

“We should also help Georgia build its defense capacity as well,’ the Ambassador added.

In early July, Russian occupation forces deployed in central Georgia have moved the occupation line further into the Georgian territory.

They have illegally placed a new so-called border sign in the village of Bershueti in the Gori Municipality.

As a result, about 10 more hectares of Georgian soil in the heart of the country became occupied by Russia.

Georgia’s State Security Service stressed due to the new illegal "border sign,” parts of several local farmers’ agricultural lands have now fallen behind the occupation line.

"This is a continuation of the illegal process of the so-called borderization, which not only violates the fundamental rights of local residents but directly damages the security situation,” the statement read.