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Tbilisi Warns Sochi Olympic Visitors Against Illegal Entry in Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Feb.'14 / 20:09

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has warned visitors of the Sochi Olympic Games that entering to breakaway Abkhazia from Russia would constitute violation of law, subject to criminal punishment in Georgia.

The statement came after authorities in breakaway Abkhazia announced about simplifying visa rules for a period of the Olympic Games for those foreigners willing to enter into the region from Russia via Psou border crossing point, less than 40 kilometers from the city of Sochi.

“Decision represents yet another provocative action against Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and aims at misleading foreign citizens,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry said that under the Georgian law entry into “occupied territories” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for foreign citizens from the areas other than Georgian-controlled territories is a subject to criminal punishment. Violation of this rule carries either financial penalty or a jail term from two to four years, according to the law.

In the statement the Georgian MFA also called on the foreign countries to warn their citizens against illegal entry into Georgia’s occupied territories.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry has not yet reacted on presence of leaders of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on February 7. Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders, Alexander Ankvab and Leonid Tibilov, respectively, were sitting next to each other in the Fisht Stadium not far from place occupied by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and other foreign dignitaries present at the opening ceremony.

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