Moscow accused Tbilisi on Tuesday of preparing “a large-scale provocation” on the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border on August 26, marking third anniversary of recognition of Georgia’s two breakaway regions by Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 23, that the Georgian authorities plan an event dubbed as “peace march” during which about 3,000 Georgians, residents of Tserovani settlement for IDPs, as well as Chechen refugees living in Akhmeta district in eastern Georgia would march from the village of Odzisi to a checkpoint at Akhalgori district on the South Ossetian administrative border.
“Scenario of this event envisages an attempt of mass illegal penetration into the territory of South Ossetia under the slogan of return of refugees to their homes,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It was first reported about the allegedly planned event on July 30 by the foreign ministry of breakaway South Ossetia; last week authorities in the breakaway region again raised the issue and informed about the alleged event EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM); but the latter said it had checked the report with the Georgian authorities, which had denied it.
Asked if monitors from EUMM on the ground observed any signs of preparation for the alleged event, EUMM spokesman, Steve Bird, told Civil.ge on August 23: “We have not seen anything”.
In its August 23 statement the Russian Foreign Ministry also said: “This new irresponsible and provocative intention of Tbilisi is extremely dangerous.”
“It is fraught with destabilization of already fragile situation in the region,” it said and added that the planned event demonstrated “cynicism” of the Georgian authorities as showed mistreatment of refugees for political goals.
“We strongly warn the Georgian side against any attempts to carry out a new adventure in the region. We hope that the appropriate unambiguous signals towards Tbilisi will also come from other members of the international community,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.