Outgoing South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, has rejected ultimatum set by an opposition candidate Alla Jioyeva earlier on Thursday, as breakaway region’s security service has warned “the situation may get out of control.”
“I will not accept any ultimatums,” Kokoity told Interfax news agency.
Jioyeva called on Kokoity to recognize her as elected new leader of the breakaway region and to drop plans to hold repeat presidential election in March, 2012 before 6pm local time on December 1.
The ultimatum deadline has expired; it is not clear how Jioyeva will respond. Her supporters are rallying in the vicinity of the government building in the center of Tskhinvali.
Meanwhile, head of the breakaway region’s state security committee, Boris Attoev, said that there “are hot heads” among the protesters calling for breaking into the government building, which is sealed off by troops from the special task force.
“Unfortunately information that we possess gives reasons to be concerned,” Attoev said, according to the government-run news agency Res. “Processes taking place can any time go beyond what is permitted. The situation may get out of control.”
“There are hot heads who are calling for occupying the government building. Such a move will amount to illegal seizure of power,” he said, adding that there were legal procedures including through court to settle the dispute.
He also said that troops under the subordination of the state security committee had been ordered not to use arms. He, however, also added: “I can not guarantee anything if the shooting starts; but we the power wielding structures will not start shooting first.”
The same news agency, Res, reported quoting the breakaway region’s interior minister, Valeri Valiyev, that the ministry’s troops “will never use arms against own people.”
The breakaway region’s defense minister, Valery Yakhnovets, said that the ministry’s troops have tightened security of military facilities and arms depots; otherwise armed forces were carrying out their service “in usual regime.”
On November 30 Alla Jioyeva said in an appeal sent to the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, that the region was on the verge of civil war after her victory in the Sunday’s presidential runoff was illegally invalidated.
“As a legally elected President of Republic of South Ossetia, I want to inform you, that the Republic of South Ossetia is on the verge of civil war. President Kokoity and his circle with connivance of official representatives from the Russian Federation violated constitutional order and plunged the country into chaos and in deep political crisis,” Jioyeva’s appeal reads.
“Developments in the republic have a negative trend, which may spill over beyond the country, provoking tensions in the entire Caucasus region,” Jioyeva said.
“I appeal to you with a request to react in the shortest period of time on developments in South Ossetia with a goal to establish constitutional order and stability,” she said in her appeal to the Russian President.
She also writes in the appeal that despite of the fact that her rival candidate, Anatoly Bibilov, met with President Medvedev ahead of the Sunday’s runoff, she does not believe it was an expression of Medvedev’s support towards Bibilov.
“I would like to hope… that the Russian political beau monde, which took part in [Bibilov’s] electoral campaign, can not be representing the entire Russia and personally you,” she writes.
In the same appeal Jioyeva slams “Saakashvili’s fascist regime” and thanks Russia for being South Ossetia’s guarantor of security and peace including during the August, 2008 war, when Russia’s “peace enforcement operation against Georgia helped to save our ethnos from genocide.”
Jioyeva was holding talks late on Wednesday and Thursday with Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff Sergey Vinakurov, who was sent to Tskhinvali by Moscow to try to settle post-election dispute in the breakaway region.