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Georgia Says Russia Boosts Military Presence in S.Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Oct.'08 / 15:25

Russia has again increased it military presence in breakaway South Ossetia in recent week by 2,000, brining its troops up to 7,000 that may be an indication that Moscow is planning to re-escalate tensions in the region, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs said on October 23.

“Within last several days they [the Russian troops] have entered and stationed on the territory of Java,” Shota Utiashvili, the Ministry’s spokesman, said. “Two days ago about 40 units of military hardware, accompanied by several hundreds of troops and four combat helicopters moved from Tskhinvali to the Akhalgori district.”

“We assume that a total number of Russian soldiers on the territory of former South Ossetian [autonomous district] has now increased up to 7,000 that is source of our concern,” he added.

Utiashvili said that this process was accompanied by “several obvious provocative acts” in the region involving an explosion of a Georgian police pick-up truck and “an attempt of blowing up a Georgian police post.”

“All this makes us think that Russia may be planning to further escalate the situation,” he added.

The Russian Ministry of Defense, however, has strongly denied that it sent extra troops to South Ossetia as disinformation.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, also said on October 23, that the Georgian Interior Ministry’s report was “not true.” “Such false information,” he said, had been disseminated regularly by the Georgian side. 

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