Four Georgian citizen have been captured by Russian troops near Georgia’s occupied breakaway region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), officials say.
The State Security Service said the detainees are residents of Khashuri district in central Georgia.
The men were detained for allegedly illegally crossing the "border” – the administrative boundary line (ABL) erected by the occupying forces separating breakaway Tskhinvali region from the rest of Georgia.
The State Security Service said talks for freeing the captured locals are ongoing through the European Union Monitoring mission hotline.
The kidnapping is the latest in a series of frequent kidnappings of residents living in Georgian villages along the ABL separating the Russian-occupied regions of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia from the rest of Georgia. Over 130 people were detained by guards patrolling the occupation line in 2016.
It is not always obvious where the occupation line has been demarcated as Russian occupation forces keep changing the so-called borders. This process is informally referred to as a "creeping occupation”.