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Policeman wounded in shooting at Abkhaz administrative border

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, January 20
One policeman was injured in the village of Khurcha, in the Zugdidi region, as a result of fire from de facto Abkhazian administrative territory early in the morning on January 18, the Georgian Interior Ministry has reported. According to the MIA statement a grenade launcher and machine guns was used in the attack.

Georgian officials called the incident “yet another provocative act which aimed at destabilization and pulling the Georgian side into another large scale military action.” The statement released by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says the responsibility for the shooting incident lies with Russia only.

The Ministry points out the necessity of starting an international monitoring mission on the territories controlled by Russia, in order to prevent “similar provocations.” “The incident of January 18 proves that there is a need to create a large-scale peacekeeping operation based on the UN Monitoring Mission in Georgia in order to neutralize the threats coming from the occupied territories and avert a possible military confrontation,” the statement reads. The Georgian Foreign Ministry has also demanded that Russia fully meet the six-point ceasefire agreement and leave the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

Georgian lawmakers have also condemned the incident at the administrative border of Abkhazia, calling it a “provocation of the Kremlin.” “Russia has realized that it is losing control after the growth of international pressure in the occupied regions and is trying to organize military provocations. That`s why we demand an enlargement of the EU monitoring mission, which is of vital importance,” ruling party MP Akaki Minashvili was quoted as saying by Rustavi 2.

Meanwhile, the de facto Abkhaz authorities have denied any links to Sunday’s incident. De facto Abkhazian Interior Minister Otar Khetsia said, “It is another provocation from the Georgian side,” and “the Abkhazian side has nothing to do with the shootings happening on the territory of Georgia.”

Khetsia noted that the law enforcement bodies in de facto Abkhazia are taking “concrete steps” not to let armed Georgian people enter Abkhazia from Georgia proper and will not let them conduct illegal actions there.