Creeping occupation: EU Monitoring Mission considers placement of ‘green signs’ unwarranted

This week three Georgian citizens have been kidnapped by Russian occupant forces near the ABL separating Georgia from its eastern occupied Tskhinvali region. Photo by N.Alavidze/, 04 Jul 2017 - 18:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia has released a statement in connection with the recent illegal installation of a so-called border sign across the occupation line in the breakaway Tskhinvali region.

The statement read that following media reports earlier today stating that a new ‘Green Sign’ has been installed in the vicinity of Bershueti (Gduleti), EUMM immediately dispatched a patrol to the area to establish a real time picture of the situation on the ground.

The EUMM said it can confirm that borderisation activities took place in the Gduleti area in June, but is not able to confirm the installation of new ‘Green Signs’ during the past week.

"According to EUMM’s own observations in the area, several ‘Green Signs’ were installed in the vicinity of Bershueti (Gduleti) on 19 June 2017 very close to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) on a position which is not under control of the Georgian government (Tbilisi Administred Territory)”, the statement read.

It added that nonetheless, the EUMM considers the placement of ‘Green Signs’ unwarranted.

"Borderisation activities in any form, including placing of such signs, create obstacles to the freedom of movement and deprive farmers, who have been farming there for years, from cultivating their land,” the statement read.

The EUMM said that this issue may be discussed at the next Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) Meeting in Ergneti on 11 July 2017.

"The EUMM will continue to monitor borderisation activities closely”, added the statement.

According to recent reports, Russian occupation forces deployed in central Georgia moved the occupation line further into Georgian territory yesterday.

They illegally placed a new so-called border sign in the village of Bershueti in the Gori Municipality, which saw about 10 more hectares of Georgian soil in the heart of the country become occupied by Russia.