Two teenagers died and four other civilians were badly injured as a result of a blast which occurred in early hours on July 14 in breakaway South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali.
According to the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee an explosive was installed on a tree near a house of Bala Bestauti, who is described as commander of special purpose unit of the Defense Ministry of the unrecognized republic.
This is a second explosion in Tskhinvali in a week. The first one killed Secretary of National Security Council of breakaway South Ossetia Oleg Albarov on July 9.
“Explosive [used on July 14] is similar to the one which was used against Oleg Albarov,” the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee reported.
Maj. Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov, Commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces stationed in the conflict zone, told RIA Novosti news agency that terrorist acts in Tskhinvali aim at destabilization of situation, “which is already very tense.”
The South Ossetian Press and Information Committee also noted that Bala Bestauti, who reportedly was a target of July 14 blast, was in a so called ‘black list’ of South Ossetian officials published by the Georgian Interior Ministry last November.
But Chief of the Georgian President’s Administration Giorgi Arveladze said that murder of Albarov was a demonstration of “political terror” amid power straggle among secessionist leaders.
The recent explosion came amid Russian officials’ statements about anticipated provocations, which allegedly are planned by the Georgian side.
Russian media sources were extensively reporting on July 12 information disseminated by Russia’s federal security service say that the FSB (Federal Security Service) has received a tip about Georgia’s plan to start incursion in breakaway South Ossetian in mid-July.
“I hope that these reports are groundless, because otherwise it will be a signal for resumption of bloodshed [in South Ossetia],” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
“This is not the first case when we are noting that the Georgian side might be getting ready for certain forceful actions,” he added
Lavrov cited ongoing construction of a new military base near the conflict zone, as well as frequent rotation of Georgian peacekeeping battalion in South Ossetia as an indication of possible use of force by the Georgian side.
He said that Georgia frequently rotates its troops in the peacekeeping battalion in order to let as many soldiers as possible to familiarize with the situation on the ground.
The South Ossetian side blamed Tbilisi of masterminding both of these blasts in Tskhinvali. But the officials in Tbilisi deny accusations and say that the Georgian is not interested in stirring tensions in the South Ossetian conflict zone and accused Russian special services of being behind the terrorist acts in Tskhinvali.
“All these recent statements made by the Russian officials recently indicate that we should expect a provocation from the Russian side in South Ossetia, especially against the background of the Georgian President’s recent visit to the United States,” Giga Bokeria, an influential parliamentarian from the ruling National Movement party, told reporters.