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Serious incident between Georgia and South Ossetia (Maj2)

EUMM observer on patrol in Gremiskhevi - archive (Credit: EUMM Georgia)

(BRUSSELS2) Several young adults, who “went to pick plants” near the demarcation line with South Ossetia, in the Sachkhere district, were attacked today (Wednesday May 18) by South Ossetian forces. Ossetians. They fled while the latter tried to apprehend them. But South Ossetian forces fired. One of them, aged 17, was seriously injured, and remains hospitalized – according to the Georgian authorities – in a serious situation. Another was more lightly injured. Four other adults, however, were taken prisoner and are currently being held by South Ossetian forces.

For the Georgian government, which has just made a declaration, this is a “ serious violation of the ceasefire ". It directly implicates Russia “ which thus pursues a policy aimed at destabilizing and terrorizing the local population " and " seeks to provoke an escalation of tensions ". This is the most serious incident since March 2009.

No official comment has yet been made by the European observers present on site (EUMM Georgia). But they do not have normal access to South Ossetian territory. And it will undoubtedly be necessary to go through Russian mediation to get the situation resolved.

(update) " We are in the process of verifying the circumstances of this incident. we say to EUMM. " There are conflicting reports. And we won't comment until we know more » A local EUMM patrol, coming from the Gori base, accompanied by a mission manager went to the site on Wednesday to speak to residents and seek to speak to those who were involved in the incident to know the circumstances. And an ad hoc meeting was held Thursday in Dvani within the framework of the IPRM (the conflict resolution body), with Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian representatives. On this occasion, the 4 Georgians detained during the incident, as well as another detained a few days earlier, were released, confirmed an EUMM spokesperson. But the condition of the injured remains critical, regretted EUMM which condemned this incident.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).