The FINANCIAL — U.S. Embassy Tbilisi is alarmed and deeply troubled by reports that Russian-led security forces shot, wounded, and detained a Georgian citizen on July 11 near the village of Kvemo Chala, along the administrative boundary line of Russian-occupied South Ossetia. Resident of central Georgia’s Kaspi Municipality Zaza Gakheladze, 33, was shot and then arrested around 9:30am local time. The Georgian MFA appealed to the international community “to give a strong assessment” to the illegal actions of the Russian occupation forces and to take immediate measures to counter “the ongoing provocations against the Georgian state.
A Georgian citizen was shot and arrested near the administrative line dividing the occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region from the Georgian-controlled territory on Saturday, with the de-facto authorities taking the man to detention in the occupied Akhalgori town. Resident of central Georgia’s Kaspi Municipality village of Kvemo Tchala, Zaza Gakheladze, 33, was shot and then arrested around 9:30am local time, with the de-facto Security Committee of South Ossetia releasing the information to family later. The occupation authorities alleged Gakheladze had crossed the “state border” and opened fire on “border protection staff” after an appearance of the latter on the scene. The “committee” said the Georgian citizen had been injured in return fire from the “border” patrols, local news website agenda.ge reported.
The State Security Service said Hot Line has been immediately activated over “this grave incident carried out by the Russian occupation forces,” adding that the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), as well as co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, have been informed. The Georgian MFA appealed to the international community “to give a strong assessment” to the illegal actions of the Russian occupation forces and to take immediate measures to counter “the ongoing provocations against the Georgian state,” Civil.ge wrote.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia said that, it categorically condemns the fact of shooting, wounding, and illegal detention of a Georgian citizen by the Russian occupation forces, as another dangerous provocation by the Russian Federation, aimed at escalating and destabilizing the situation on the ground during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia released a statement, which confirms the extensive use of the Mission-managed Hotline with regard to the detention and alleged shooting of a Georgian citizen at the Administrative Boundary Line between Tbilisi-Administered Territory (TAT) and South Ossetia. In this context, Head of Mission Marek Szczygieł, recalled the importance of a swift resumption of the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) as the appropriate forum for regular dialogue and confidence building.
U.S. Embassy Tbilisi is alarmed and deeply troubled by reports that Russian-led security forces shot, wounded, and detained a Georgian citizen on July 11 near the village of Kvemo Chala, along the administrative boundary line of Russian-occupied South Ossetia. “We condemn this shooting and detention — another escalation in a series of provocative actions taken by Russian-led forces in recent weeks. Such a dangerous and unwarranted incident would not have occurred if Russia had fulfilled its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We call for the immediate release of the Georgian detained in this incident”, is written in U.S. Embassy statement.
Also, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically demands the immediate handover of the wounded and illegally detained citizen of Georgia to the Georgian side and calls upon the Russian Federation to ensure unrestricted access of international humanitarian and human rights organizations to the occupied territories, and start unconditional implementation of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
“Opening fire on the local peaceful civilian by the Russian occupation forces is another vivid example of Russia’s gross violation of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and full disregard of the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Such a provocation by the Russian occupation forces, which are illegally deployed in the heart of Georgia’s territory and grossly violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of the local population, once again demonstrates the necessity of establishment of international security mechanisms in the occupied regions”, stated The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Of course, this was not the first case of kidnapping citizen of Georgia. on November 9, Tbilisi-based doctor, Vazha Gaprindashvili, was detained by Russia-backed Tskhinvali region’s “state security committee” near the occupation line with Akhalgori and has been sentenced for one year and nine months for “illegally crossing the border” in Russia-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia on December 20. He was released on December 28, as reported by local media Civil.ge