Russia warned Georgia on Tuesday against an invasion of South Ossetia under the guise of a so-called Peace March, marking the third anniversary of South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s independence, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after a five-day conflict between Russia and Georgia. In response, Tbilisi cut off diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared both republics occupied territories.
Moscow warned Tbilisi against staging the march, saying that “the scenario of this event includes an attempted illegal invasion into the territory of South Ossetia under the slogan of repatriating refugees to their homes.”
The ministry said that Georgian authorities planned to recruit up to 3,000 refugees living in a refugee camp in Georgian village of Tserovani, some 15 kilometers from Tbilisi in Georgia’s eastern Akhmetsky district, to join in the march.
Georgia itself dismissed Russia’s claims. “Is this a provocation? Georgia is used to such allegations!” Shota Utiashvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s Information and Analysis Department said on Tuesday after Russia issued its statement.
The recruitment for the march was organized as a part of the official re-registration of refugees. People are believed being forced to participate in the march, the ministry said.