Russian refugees flee Georgia

A group of Russian refugees has had to cross the border with Georgia at gunpoint. They said that, despite having all the necessary documents, the Georgian police didn't want to let them through.

A group of ethnic Russians have left their homes in the Georgian village of Grigoleti. All the refugees said that they have families in Russia and would like to start the new life there. The refugees, including nine men, four women and six children, said that Georgian police were unwilling to let them leave the country. Russian peacekeepers had to send an armed personnel carrier to the border.

“They didn't even want to let the APC in. They closed the barrier and came out with weapons. The guys were great though – they made them raise it and still drove in,” said Sergey Dedanishvili, one of the refugees.

The refugees say that the decision to leave Georgia was inevitable. Vladimir Korzh, another refugee, said, “It's impossible to live there. But my parents, my brothers and my son have stayed behind.”

Before they reached Russia, they had to pass Abkhazia. This is the shortest way, but the road through the Georgian Zugdidi district is getting more and more dangerous.

“Russian citizens are fleeing the country because of discrimination,” said Ruslan Kishmaria, the authorised representative of the Abkhazian president.

Abkhazian emergency ministry officials say that after recent events in Tshinval, Abkhazian authorities have been assisting refugees crossing the border every day for the last 10 days.

The refugees say more than 100 other ethnic Russians would also like to leave their village fearing further harassment.