Russian MFA Comments on New Georgian Provocation
OREANDA-NEWS. May 20, 2008. The Georgian side has undertaken yet another provocation against members of the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force (PKF).
On May 18, on the outskirts of Zugdidi (the southern security zone of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict), about 20 masked Georgian security officers blocked the road and did not let an armed personnel carrier of peacekeepers through that had been ensuring a scheduled rebasing of combat equipment, of which, incidentally, the Georgian defense and interior ministries had been officially notified in advance. The Georgians used crude physical force against the PKF soldiers, whom they accused of committing a traffic violation; they struck one in the head with the butt of a rifle and took two to Zugdidi police station. Only after intervention by the PKF command and representatives of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) were they released.
It is abundantly clear that this was a preplanned hostile action of the Georgian authorities against PKF soldiers. Further, the participants of the Georgian “masks-show” behaved like real street bandits.
Such precisely is the usual style of the provocative sallies regularly being organized by Tbilisi against peacekeepers in the conflict zones. Unfortunately, it has not changed throughout recent years. In September 2006, Georgian security officers attacked a vehicle belonging to the North Ossetian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Force in the Georgian-South Ossetian zone of conflict (JPKF) and beat up the peacekeeper who was in it. In August 2007, threatening to shoot to kill, they arrested several CIS-PKF members. Also then, two Russian citizens from the JPKF North Ossetian battalion were forcibly seized and jailed. There are quite a few such examples. The circumstances of the provocative arrest by Georgian law enforcement bodies of Russian officers of the Group of Russian Forces in Transcaucasia can also be recalled here.
In a bid to discredit the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia at all costs, the Georgian leadership stops at nothing. Not only does the practice of constant disinformation and slander come into play, but also the primitive hooligan actions like those undertaken on May 18.
All of this will not force the peacekeepers to give up fulfilling their noble mission of maintaining peace and security in the region. And responsibility for the consequences of the provocations will rest with their organizers.