The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) has confirmed that the Georgian police forces increased presence in the areas adjacent to the breakaway South Ossetian administrative border.
There were reports in the Georgian media on May 23 about increased patrols by the Georgian police forces across the administrative boundary line of the breakaway region. It has been speculated that the increased presence of the police forces was caused by alleged intention of fugitive ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili to return back to Georgia via the breakaway region. The Interior Ministry has denied these reports saying that there were routine patrols, “nothing special.” Okruashvili’s opposition party announced earlier on Tuesday that the ex-defense minister had dropped plans to return back to Georgia, as well as intention to hold a protest rally on May 25.
The Georgian police have also restricted movement across the administrative boundary line on the section of Akhalgori district. The Interior Ministry said that it was part of a security measures ahead of the planned military parade in Tbilisi to mark the Independence Day on May 26.
EUMM said in a statement on May 24, that it was aware that the Georgian law enforcement authorities “have increased their presence in the areas adjacent to the South Ossetian administrative boundary line as part of enhanced security measures.”
“The Mission is in regular contact with the Georgian authorities about the current situation and has expressed concerns about the implications for freedom of movement for the local population,” EUMM said.
“The EUMM has increased its visible presence in these areas and urges restraint from all sides to maintain security and stability for the local population.”
The mission said it was also in touch with the Russian forces stationed in the breakaway region and de facto South Ossetian authorities “to share information about developments.”