Georgia has formally protested the continuing presence of Russian troops in South Ossetia’s Akhalgori district and Abkhazia’s Kodori Gorge, both areas held by Georgian forces until the August war. Under the ceasefire terms, Russia is to withdraw to positions it held before the fighting broke out, but Moscow and Tbilisi are at odds as to whether this includes territories within the breakaway enclaves. “Akhalgori is within South Ossetia’s borders, so the [ceasefire] plan does not cover it,” Russian news agencies quoted Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Peacekeepers from the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMG) are being deployed throughout the former conflict zone under the French-brokered Sept. 8 agreement. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has received nearly 2,000 applications from South Ossetians complaining of illegal treatment at the hands of Georgian forces during the days they occupied the enclave at the start of the war. And warning that Georgia is now encouraging a terrorist campaign in the separatist enclaves, Russia says Col. Ivan Petrik, commander of Moscow’s troops in South Ossetia, was fatally wounded in last week’s bomb attack on the Russian army base there. (Reuters, ITAR-TASS, Oct. 11; IHT, Oct. 10; Reuters, Oct. 6; SAPA, Oct. 4)
See our last post on Georgia.