Build-up of Russian troops and “offensive equipment” in the areas adjacent to administrative borders in the breakaway regions “increases the risk of dangerous provocation,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on September 21.
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said on September 21 that it “observed a build-up of Russian Federation armed personnel along the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russian military build-up was “confirmed” by landing of a Russian helicopter on the Georgian-controlled territory close to breakaway South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on September 21, that a helicopter of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, transporting humanitarian aid, had to make an emergency landing in Georgia after failure of navigation systems. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the helicopter landed in “an insignificant distance from Tskhinvali. “After noticing a mistake, pilot immediately returned to South Ossetia,” it said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has called on Russia “to desist from amassing manpower and military assets in the occupied regions.”
“As the Ministry has stated earlier, the large-scale military maneuvers of the Russian Armed Forces ‘Kavkaz-2012’ have been purposefully rescheduled to coincide with the pre-election period in Georgia. Our concerns for subsequent risks and provocations have also proven valid,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
President Saakashvili mentioned Russia’s Kavkaz-2012 drills when he was speaking on September 21 about the prison abuse scandal. “I know well what is happening in respect of Georgia in the condition when there is Russian money, Russian methods, Russian compromising materials and Russian army, deployed near our borders holding very dangerous military exercises, under conditions when the occupant of our territories has vowed to accomplish in next few weeks and months what it failed to do in 2008 and to use elections for this purpose,” Saakashvili said.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, spoke on September 20 via phone with EU’s special representative for South Caucasus, Philippe Lefort, who is a co-chairman of the Geneva discussions. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two diplomats discussed situation in the areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia.
“It was suggested, that intensification of rhetoric over this issue is apparently related to pre-election situation in Georgia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.