South Ossetia to respond "appropriately" to Georgia’s actions – FM

The unrecognised republic of South Ossetia has reserved the right to take "appropriate" measures in response to Georgia’s actions in order to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and ensure the safety of its population, the republic’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry described the developments surrounding South Ossetia over the past several weeks as "growing tensions".

Starting in the evening of August 1, throughout the night and in the morning of August 2, Georgia’s armed units "carried out massive artillery attacks on the city of Tskhinvali and other Ossetian settlements", the ministry said in a statement posted on the website of the State Committee for Information and the Press.

As a result of the attack, six peaceful South Ossetians and law enforcers were killed, and 12 people were admitted to the republican somatic hospital with various gunshot and fragmentation wounds.

The attack on Tskhinvali from Georgia continued throughout the night and stopped only in the morning.

The attack on residential districts of Tskhinvali and adjacent Ossetian villages continued from 21:15 Moscow time, Friday, till 01:00, and then, after a short break, grenade launcher and mortar fire resumed and continued till the morning, South Ossetian Interior Minister Mikhail Mindzayev told Itar-Tass by telephone earlier.

Mindzayev believes the attack on Tskhinvali was stopped only because South Ossetia opened retaliatory fire on the Georgian firing positions.

They met with an appropriate response and retreated, he said.

The monitoring conducted by observers of the joint peacekeeping force in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone from three parties together with OSCE mission representatives has established that the fire came from Georgia.

The shooting supposedly from sniper guns came from firing positions recently equipped by Georgia and located some 500 metres west of the Georgian village of Prisi, the peacekeeping force commander's aide Vladimir Ivanov said.

Georgian State Minister for Reintegration and presidential envoy for conflict resolution Temuri Yakobashvili traveled to the South Ossetian conflict zone on Saturday in order to study the situation on the ground.

He planned to meet with members of the OSCE observers mission in the conflict zone and the joint peacekeeping force commander Marat Kulakhmetov.

[Source: Itar Tass, Tskhinvali, 02Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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