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Georgia: 5 Georgian men abducted in South Ossetia

Georgia: 5 Georgian men abducted in South Ossetia

Militias in the Russian-backed region of South Ossetia have abducted five Georgian men, Georgia's Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
The five were detained late Monday while chopping firewood in a disputed border area, said ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili, who characterized the action as a kidnapping.
Russian border guards detained 16 other Georgians on Monday for alleged illegal border crossings.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry sent Russia a note of protest Wednesday demanding that the 16 be released immediately. The note was sent through the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi, which represents Russia's interests in the Georgian capital.
South Ossetian and Russian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Russia and Georgia broke off diplomatic relations after fighting a brief war last year.
The August 2008 war ended with Russian recognition of South Ossetia and another separatist province, Abkhazia, as independent nations, not part of Georgia. Russia also stationed thousands of its troops in both regions.
Georgia claims South Ossetians have occupied several districts in Georgia and expelled tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians from South Ossetia.
Dozens of men have been kidnapped on both sides after the 2008 war, and several were killed or wounded during border shootouts. Most of those kidnapped have returned home, but some remain missing.
Ethnic Georgians are being kidnapped to be swapped for jailed Ossetian criminals, for ransom or for revenge for militia relatives killed or wounded in the war, Georgian officials said.


Updated : 2021-08-02 05:38 GMT+08:00