Breakaway Region's Security Chief Says His Force Killed 29 Georgians Troops

The security chief of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia was shown on Russian TV on 3 August saying that his forces had killed 29 Georgian troops.

The video report on the flagship evening news bulletin on Channel One TV was devoted mainly to the evacuation of children from South Ossetia to the Russian region of North Ossetia.

Channel One correspondent said that South Ossetian security council secretary Gen Anatoliy Barankevich was inspecting reservists and veterans after a decision had been taken to reinforce police and army with them because of "the military threat", and went on: "After the shelling of the town [of Tskhinvali in South Ossetia] in the early hours of 1 August, when six people were killed and 13 injured here, information about the Georgian side's losses is officially given for the first time."

Barankevich was then shown addressing a group of about 20 men, most of them in camouflage, in a grass-grown back yard.

He said: "Our defence, our internal troops, responded well: 29 men. They are now trying to hush up these figures - [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili is - but they have actually lost 29 servicemen dead, those who shelled our town. So it was a worthy response."

The video report also included footage of Eduard Kokoity, the leader of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia saying: "Georgian heavy hardware - self-propelled guns and tanks - has long been in the conflict zone, even though they should not be in the conflict zone.

"Yesterday, the intelligence service of the South Ossetian armed forces established that Grad rocket systems were being redeployed to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, to the immediate vicinity of our border."

[Source: Channel One TV (Russia), Moscow, 03Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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