Russia Gov’t: Georgian TV crew detained for violating border rules

Foreign Minister believed the TV crew of three persons “demonstratively” crossed into “the South Ossetia’s territory”., 16 Apr 2014 - 14:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian authorities are claiming three Georgian journalists were detained near the South Ossetian so-called border because they violated border controls and "created provocations”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement TV3 reporter Bela Zakaidze, cameraman Vahko Lekiashvili and technical support staff member Mikheil Mikhoev had violated border rules and were taken captive by Russian forces near the Adzvi village on Wednesday.

TV3 officials denied the Russia’s Foreign Minister’s accusations of violating border rules said the journalists even had not came close to the so called border.

The Russian authority confirmed the TV crew were detained by Russian border guards and were then handed over to the authorities of the breakaway region.

The journalists are currently being held in Tskhinvali.

Russia’s Foreign Minister believed the three-person television crew "demonstratively” crossed into "South Ossetia’s territory”, in an attempt to provoke and mar an expected meeting between Russian and Georgian diplomats in Prague today, April 16.

"It is hard to consider it otherwise than a pre-planned action with a purpose to complicate atmosphere of a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister [Grigory] Karasin and Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative [Zurab] Abashidze in Prague,” the Russian Ministry statement read.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was not the first time a provocative action had been organized precisely on the eve of the Prague meeting.

The statement also referred to the recent violation of Georgian airspace by Russian aircraft and called the facts "fictitious”. It went on to say a "struggle continues within the Georgian society between those who try to normalize ties with Moscow and forces, which pursue ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s course of ‘fueling hostilities’”.

The three Georgian journalists were taken captive while reporting on the story of Russia’s creeping occupation as it continued to move the border further into Georgian territory.

The unlawful detention of the Georgian television crew would be be the first issue discussed at a meeting with Russian envoy Grigory Karasin at today’s meeting in Prague, said Abashidze, the Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Moscow, to Georgian journalists.

It is believed the trio will be released later today.