30 Jan 2014 - 09:13
French visitors planning to attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi have been advised not to visit the breakaway regions of Georgia.
They are the second international group to be warned against visiting Georgia’s occupied regions in their Olympic travels.
France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released guidelines to French travelers ahead of next month’s Olympic competition.
France’s official Spectator Guide for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games included a special note recommending visitors to abstain from visiting Georgia’s occupied regions including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The guide stated it was a crime, punishable by local law, to entering these regions across a Russian border without informing Georgian authorities.
Sochi is located 40km from Abkhazia, along the Black Sea coast. Russia is one of the few countries to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign states since they broke away from Georgia in 1990.
Earlier this week, Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released the same guidelines to Romanian residents.
Russia expands border zone
Earlier this month, the de-facto Government of Abkhazia declared that the boundary zone would impede on Georgian territory until March 21, when the Olympic Games are over.
During the competition, the Georgia-Russia border will temporarily be moved by 11km kilometers on the Psou River, near the town of Gagra.
The Georgian Government expressed "deep concern" over the "illegal expansion" of Russian territory.