Georgia’s State Security Service (SSS) has released its annual report today, listing the country’s biggest security issues and challenges to face in 2018.
The report says that 126 Georgian citizens were illegally detained by Russia-controlled border guards last year at the Georgia-breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) occupation line and 52 others at the Georgia-occupied Abkhazia so-called boundary line.
The individuals were detained for the "illegal crossing of the border” and many of them were released shortly after paying a fine.
The report released today reads that Russia and de-facto leadership of Abkhazia closed two so-called checkpoints in 2017, which "significantly complicated” the movement of people from the occupied region to Tbilisi-administered territory.
The SSS also reported that the rights of local Georgian citizens to receive a residency permit in occupied Tskhinvali were severely restricted, and that Georgian students in the region were partially deprived of the right to study in their native tongue. The deliberate destruction of Georgian-owned homes was also listed as a critical issue.
"The harsh criminal situation and absence of international monitoring missions in the occupied territories are among the primary challenges the breakaway regions are facing currently,” the SSS stated in its report.