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Incident Sparks Tensions in South Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Feb.'06 / 13:30

An incident involving a vehicle carrying Russian peacekeepers crashing into a car being driven by a local resident of the Georgian village of Tkviavi in the conflict zone grew into a confrontation between the Russian peacekeepers and Georgian forces late on January 31.

The Georgian television stations showed Russian peacekeepers and Georgian uniformed men quarreling after the Russian peacekeepers dispatched several armored vehicles in the village following the Georgian police's decision to confiscate the peacekeeper's vehicle after the crash.

Commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces stationed in the conflict zone Marat Kulakhmetov, who was at the site, said that the incident was “provoked by the Georgian side.”

He said that the Georgian side violated an agreement and deployed additional troops in the conflict zone following this incident.

South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity told Interfax news agency that about 500 servicemen were dispatched to the village of Tkviavi from the town of Gori. “They tried to provoke an armed confrontation with the Russian peacekeepers,” Kokoity said.

The administration of the Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues denied on February 1 that additional forces were dispatched to the conflict zone.

“In case a similar incident is repeated the command of the Russian peacekeeping forces will be ready to undertake the strictest measures, including the use of firearms,” RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting Marat Kulakhmetov as saying.

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