Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said on January 22 that expansion of ‘border zone’ 11 kilometers deeper into the breakaway Abkhazia ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi is not just “a technical move”.
In his opening remarks at a news conference, President Margvelashvili said that expansion of the border zone “deeper into our territory by Russia without agreement with Georgia” causes Tbilisi’s “concern”.
“It is obvious that in the condition when Russia is actually in complete military and security control over this territory [Abkhazia], this is not just a technical move, but it has a certain political reason. We believe that this fact should not be left without attention of the international community,” he said.
Government in breakaway Abkhazia extended its ‘border zone’ with Russia, where heightened security measures are enforced, 11 kilometers deeper into the breakaway region’s Gagra district starting from January 20. Individuals entering into the extended ‘border zone’ in a period between January 20 and March 21, are required to carry identification cards. According to the Abkhaz government’s decree, “a stationary checkpoint” will be established at the village of Bagripshi on the edge of the 11km zone, which will be manned by officers from the Abkhaz security service, interior ministry and migration service. At this checkpoint the officers will be authorized to check identification cards of persons entering into the extended ‘border zone’ or heading towards the Russian border, as well as to inspect vehicles. Abkhaz law enforcement officers will be carrying out round-the-clock patrols in the villages falling within the zone, according to the decree.