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30 Dec, 2008 12:26

Georgia tempting fate again?

Georgia tempting fate again?

Georgia is moving tanks and armoured vehicles closer to the border with South Ossetia, the republic’s government said on Monday.

“According to intelligence that is coming in, Georgia has moved 28 tanks into the city of Gori, where a tank battalion is deployed. Moreover, Cobra armoured personnel carriers have been detected in the village of Nikozi in the immediate vicinity of the Republic of South Ossetia’s borders,” the press release said.

Provided the reports are true the situation resembles what one could witness in the days running up to August 7, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the republic. South Ossetia, along with Abkhazia, broke away in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, the senior Georgian police official has denied allegations by the South Ossetian Defense Ministry that Georgia had reinforced a tank battalion allegedly deployed in Gori.

“This is untrue information as apartment blocks are being built currently on the deployment site of the former tank battalion in the city of Gori,” says local police chief Vladimir Jugeli.

“As for the Cobra police vehicles, it is true that such vehicles have been patrolling the vicinity of police posts in the region of Tskhinval, and all the conflict parties were notified about them a long time ago,” Jugeli said.

It is not only South Ossetia’s government that has voiced its anxiety over the situation in the region. Last Friday the EU Monitoring Mission said it was concerned over the deployment by Georgia of armoured vehicles in areas close to the South Ossetian and Abkhazian borders.