Disturbing series of events in Georgia
Local media in Georgia have reported multiple alarming incidents occurring within the country's borders over the past week. State entities de facto established on Georgian soil with Russian backing are experiencing unrest.
A Georgian civilian was fatally shot, and Russian border guards detained another in the region of South Ossetia. The incident happened as they reportedly tried to visit a contentious church.
As reported by OC Media, on Monday evening, near the village of Kirbali, which is under Georgian administration and adjacent to the Leningorsky district of South Ossetia, Russian border guards shot Tamaz Ginturi, resulting in his death and captured Levan Dotiashvili. According to Tamaz's relative, Giorgi Doluashvili, the two were heading to a church in South Ossetian territory to worship when Ginturi was shot in the back and later hospitalized.
The security agency of South Ossetia, known as the KGB, claimed within a few hours of the incident that the men were intoxicated, resisted arrest wielding an axe, and attempted to run down a border guard while fleeing. The agency accused them of aggressive behavior and stated that Ginturi was injured when guards fired at their vehicle to disable its tires.
Following these events, Georgian and South Ossetian representatives met in Ergneti, a village south of Tskhinvali, where the Georgian side demanded Dotiashvili's release and appropriate actions against the guard responsible for Ginturi's fatal injury.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili denounced the shooting, urging the international community to respond to the tragic event and calling for South Ossetian cooperation to identify and hold the perpetrator accountable.
The European Union, its monitoring mission in Georgia, and the United States have all condemned the fatal shooting.
Ginturi is recognized as the first casualty at the South Ossetian border since the conflict in August 2008.
The Georgian Orthodox Church has advised caution, especially in the village of Kirbali, which has seen restricted access due to South Ossetia's "borderization" efforts, including barbed wire, trenches, and boundary markers encroaching into Georgian-controlled areas.
Meanwhile, in Abkhazia, security forces conducted an unsuccessful overnight search for alleged "armed saboteurs," casting doubt on the credibility of the reported incursion.