TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Russian troops stationed in Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia shot and killed a Georgian civilian near the line of control in what the Georgian authorities denounced as “the most heinous act.”
The encounter reflected the continuing tensions in the region after the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, which ended with Moscow recognizing South Ossetia and another Georgian province, Abkhazia, as independent states and beefing up its military presence there.
Most nations of the world consider both breakaway regions to be parts of Georgia, a former Soviet republic.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in a statement that a Russian soldier killed a Georgian citizen Monday while trying to illegally detain him near the village of Kirbali.
“This incident reaffirms the dire security situation on the ground and bears witness to the severe consequences of occupation,” he said. He added that “all relevant mechanisms have been set in motion, and international partners are duly informed.”
There was no immediate comment from Russian officials or the separatist authorities in South Ossetia.
Garibashvili said work was underway to ensure the prompt release of another Georgian citizen who was illegally detained by Russian forces.
“We urge the international community to duly assess and respond to the incident and call on the occupation regime’s representatives to cooperate with all parties in order to identify and punish the culprit,” Garibashvili said.