The Russian Foreign Ministry said Georgia’s accusations that Russia has illegally carried out a rotation of its peacekeepers in the South Ossetian conflict zone causes “bewilderment.”
Georgia protested against the sending of Russia’s new peacekeepers to the conflict zone through the illegally operating Roki Tunnel and also complained that the Russian servicemen have no Georgian visas.
“Movement of Russian military personnel and equipment through the Roki Tunnel was carried out in accordance with an existing decision of the Joint Control Commission (JCC). As envisaged by the rules, the JCC co-chairmen [negotiators from the Georgian, Russian, South Ossetian and Russia’s North Ossetian sides] were notified twice – on April 24 and on May 11 – about the rotation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an information note.
It also added that this practice of rotation has been in force since the creation of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF) in the South Ossetian conflict zone in 1992 and is being carried out in accordance with the agreement regulating the peacekeeping operation in the region.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Georgian side itself violated this agreement when it rotated its peacekeeping battalion in the conflict zone on May 27-28.
Moscow has also rejected accusations about the necessity of Georgian visas for the Russian servicemen in the South Ossetian conflict zone.
“Russia is far from intending to infringe on the state sovereignty of this country [Georgia] and to humiliate its national pride. But one should take into consideration the fact (our Georgian partners are trying to ignore this) that the territory of South Ossetia is not currently controlled by Tbilisi, it [the South Ossetian territory] includes the internationally recognized Zone of Conflict where a regime is set and controlled by the JCC and JPKF, which is under the JCC’s subordination. Under these conditions it is absurd to demand that the Russian peacekeepers receive Georgian visas,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.