GEORGIAN AUTHORITIES KEEP 15,000 ETHNIC OSSETIANS AT CHECKPOINTS, USE THEM FOR PROPAGANDA

Regnum
Sept 1 2008
Russia

Russia has initiated cooperation with the Georgian side at the border
checkpoints, facilitating return of residents of South and North
Ossetia who are currently in Georgia to their homes. Russian Foreign
Ministry's representative Andrey Nesterenko informed journalists of
the situation at a briefing in Moscow Sep 1, 2008, REGNUM correspondent
reports.

According to the diplomat, Russia's efforts have brought results: about
1,000 Russian citizens have returned home through the Verkhny Lars
checkpoint. Still, up to 15,000 Russian citizens, ethnic Ossetians,
remain in the territory of Georgia. They have difficulties in returning
home and are looking for ways to do it through the territories
of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, Nesterenko stated. Tbilisi is
using the civilians in a political propaganda show, keeping them
at checkpoints.

"Tbilisi wants to make the puppet government of Dmitry Sanakoyev
a guarantor of the ethnic Ossetians' returning home. We have been
informed that the Georgian border control officers do not let Ossetians
through their checkpoints until a Sanakoyev's groups arrive," the
Russian MFA envoy said. Russia is concerned with the Georgia's attempts
to win some propaganda points by using the problem, Nesterenko stated.