Russia Seizes More Georgian Arable Land Along Border
Russian Occupation Forces Move Occupation Line Further Into Georgian Territory
In the village of Berusheti (Gori Municipality) Russian soldiers have illegally a placed border marker. According to Gori Governor Davit Tsertsvadze, the banner has been installed 500 meters further into the Georgian-controlled territory.
This step made 25 more acres owned by local farmers beyond the occupation line. Residents of the village of Bershueti – Chilindrishvili, and Khodeli families have been deprived of their access to several acres of their private land.
Local farmers say they don’t know what to do; Crossing the border line is severely punishable, at the same time, they are unable to approach their own lands, which is the only financial source for them.
“This incident is nothing new for us, almost every year we witness border extension into Georgian territory. As for today, it’s a harvest time… Probably, they (Russian soldiers) are willing to abduct the harvest as well” – Goderdzi Merabashvili, a local farmer, told Rustavi 2 TV.
The Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili made a statement about the installation of the banner near the occupation line by Russian occupiers in the village of Bershueti.
“We will activate all the mechanisms to assist the local population to solve this problem, we will activate the hot line, as well as the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism next week “- said Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.
Georgia’s State Security Service released a statement today:
“This is a continuation of the illegal process of the so-called borderization, which not only violates the fundamental rights of local residents but directly damages the security situation”, the statement read.
The office of the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili declared this afternoon that the President is outraged by the recent actions of the occupation force and expects international society to properly react to the fact.
“Georgia will use all diplomatic levers at its disposal to stop the creeping occupation”, Margvelashvili said.
Georgian officials declared the issue will be raised by Georgia at the next Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting scheduled on July 11, in the village of Ergneti.
During last two years 2 incidents took place in the above mentioned village Bershueti. Once, when two members of the family of the Khodeli were detained by border guards and later in the summer of 2016, when the family of the Chilindrilishvili was not allowed to harvest their own land.
During recent years, a creeping occupation by Russian forces has become quite common in Georgia. Each month local people suffer under restricted access to their own lands, people are not allowed to visit the graves of their ancestors, illegal arrest take place close to border lines, and people get kidnapped from the villages. These provocations follow a certain trajectory–each time Georgia takes further steps towards European Union and gets closer to NATO integrations, Russia rages with its occupation policy.