South Ossetia says Georgia pulls troops close to its borders

Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia said on Sunday that Georgia was pulling troops close to its borders.

At least six people were killed and 13 wounded late Friday-early Saturday in the shelling of South Ossetia by Georgian forces, officials of the separatist region earlier said. Meanwhile, Georgia blamed the separatists for provoking armed clashes.

"The movement of Georgian forces is observed near the borders of South Ossetia," the rebel region's information and press department said, adding that an artillery battalion and two mortar batteries from the 4th motorized brigade of the Georgian Defense Ministry had started movement from the army base in Georgia's eastern town of Gori towards the separatist republic's capital, Tskhinvali.

South Ossetia leader Eduard Kokoity said on Saturday he was ready to mobilize men in the separatist republic and take volunteers from other Caucasus republics to fight Georgia.

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Hundreds died in the bloody conflict that followed. The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the region, along with another breakaway republic, Abkhazia, back under central control.

[Source: Russian Information Agency Novosti, Moscow, 03Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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