Russians gun down Georgian civilian in disputed region as tensions flare up
The victim was reportedly a veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
Russian soldiers gunned down a man near the occupation line with Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia where tensions have been simmering for awhile amid the increased borderisation.
Tamaz Ginturi was killed in what is believed to be the first fatal incident there in 15 years, since the ‘five-day’ war.
Border guards patrolling the frontline between the Moscow-backed South Ossetia and Georgian government-held territory shot him while trying to kidnap him.
The incident near the village of Kirbali was confirmed by Georgia’s prime minister in a statement on Facebook.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said one national had been shot dead and another detained by Russian troops close to the de facto border.
Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili also said she was ‘profoundly outraged’ by the attack.
‘This blatant attack on Georgian statehood once again exposes the true nature of the “coreligionist brother”,’ she added.
The victim was reportedly a veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war – Europe’s first 21st century war – in which Russia gained control of two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
David Katsarava, who frequently patrolls the occupation line with his team, wrote on Facebook: ‘Russian occupants killed our friend, Tamaz Ginturi from Kirbal.’
Human rights activists quickly gathered outside Georgia’s Parliament to condemn the killing of Mr Ginturi and Russian aggression.
Residents have been deeply impacted by the conflict over the disputed territory of South Ossetia despite some experts describing the conflict as ‘frozen’.
Since 2008, many Georgians have been kidnapped by Russian troops and held in the occupied territory for months on and only released once a huge ransom is secured.
The line of control remains undefined, and such incidents around the border are a regular occurrence.
The latest incident comes just days after Katsarava updated his followers on social media, saying that a Georgian was kidnapped near the village Sinaguri.
For months, he has been warning of Russia opening of a second front of its war in Ukraine in the regions next to South Ossetia.
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