Installation of “border" signs in Georgian villages sees important pipeline under Russian control

  • Elizbar Durglishvili was shepherding sheep when he was detained by Russian soldiers for “illegally crossing the so-called border.” Photo by N. Alavidze/, 10 Jul 2015 - 17:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia has advanced its creeping occupation into Georgian territory, resulting in a portion of the BP-operated Baku–Supsa Pipeline now under Russian control in the breakaway Tskinvali region (South Ossetia).

The pipeline was on Georgian territory but now appeared to be in occupied land after Russian occupational forces installed so-called border signs in Georgian villages.

Russian guards placed the "border" signs in Tsitelubani and Orchosani villages in the Gori municipality and Akhalgori municipality respectively, in central Georgia yesterday.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry released a special statement in response to the unlawful installation of the de facto border signs and said it was "deeply concerned" by Russia's provocative actions. As a result, now a part of the important Baku–Supsa Pipeline that was laid near the villages, was now on Russian-controlled territory.

The Ministry said this was "deliberate provocation" from the Russian side that "aimed to destabilise the situation”.

The Baku–Supsa Pipeline is an 833-kilometre oil pipeline that runs from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku, Azerbaijan to the Supsa terminal in Georgia. It transports oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field and the pipeline is operated by BP.

Meanwhile the installation of the so-called "border" signposts prevented local inhabitants of the Georgian villages from reaching their wheat fields.

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Most farmers had already cultivated their lands on the rural outskirts and were now worried they would not be allowed to access their land to collect their crops.

Additionally, local residents said they were now unable to reach their pastures and would probably be forced to sell all their cattle after about 70 percent (about 10 hectares) of their fields were now under Russian and de facto South Ossetian control.