Russian soldiers act suspiciously near occupation line

Two of Georgian regions, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, are currently occupied by Russia., 26 Jun 2014 - 18:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Local residents living near the occupational line in Georgia’s Shida Kartli Region have witnessed Russian soldiers acting suspiciously, including dismantling a barbed wire fence and setting up a military post.

Near Atotsi village, adjacent to the occupational line, villagers said Russian border guards had dismantled a portion of barbed wire fence. They were also seen installing a military booth at the site. Military vehicles and pedestrians are currently moving onto the territory, village residents said.

Head of the Interior Ministry’s Analytical Department Gocha Ratiani said it was difficult to say what the aim of the Russian soldiers’ actions were, but he believed there was no immediate indication that they intended to move the occupational line within the Georgian-controlled territory.

"This has not begun today. Nearly a week ago they removed poles. So-called booths and checkpoints are temporary, which were placed on their controlled territory,” Ratiani said.

"We, of course, activated our resources, including the EU Monitoring Mission hotline, and they confirmed that this was a temporary booth. I cannot tell you that the removal of poles has some importance for us. Let’s look at the dynamics. Our principle position is that any such action is illegal."

Ratiani added similar facts were noticed at other places along the occupation line.

Locals said they were scared and believed the occupant forces were trying to move the administrative line further into Georgian-controlled territory.

Two of Georgian regions, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which make up 20 percent of Georgia’s total territory, are currently occupied by Russia.