Residents of the village of Tsnelis in South Ossetia are "trapped"

Thu, 29/08/2019 - 11:46

Under the scorching August sun in the middle of the dusty road of Tsnelis village, there is a crowd of people. South Ossetian servicemen, journalists and local residents are looking towards the hill from where the Georgian flag is fluttering through the dense thickets of bushes. A couple of days ago, Georgian security forces put up a checkpoint in the South Ossetian territory. Now the height above the Yugostalk plant (formerly Gruztalk) is occupied by them.

There are built barriers of sandbags. According to the inhabitants of the village of Tsnelis, “Georgians walk freely around the village, go into houses and have coffee. We look through the binoculars of Georgians, and they look at us. Even without binoculars, their movements are clearly visible. They also seem to be alarmed at the sight of the South Ossetian military equipment "A group of three people is staring at us from above for a long time. One of them went down and is taking a video. The location of the checkpoint gives them a good view. The checkpoint from the "ours" is separated by a shallow river, shrubs and the crumbling building of a former marble processing plant."

Alan Bekoev until the 90s headed one of the shops of the Yugostalk enterprise. The plant produced various products, ground talc, serpentinite, marble and granite. Up to 4 tons of products were delivered to Ukraine per month. Bekoev says the Paveletskaya metro station in Moscow is decorated with the marble mined and processed at the plant. Today, only ruins remained from a profitable factory, like a ghost of war, devastation. And as proof of this, the Georgian checkpoint is visible in the openings of the crumbling walls.

Alan says that the deposits of marble and talc, as well as the plant itself, are located in the South Ossetian territory, disputed by Georgia. However, the border line here is fairly arbitrary, there are no erected any fences. The border is guarded by South Ossetian and Russian border guards. But, a part of the village of Tsnelis "on the other side of the river», ended up outside the protected areas. So, the Georgians and representatives of international organizations began to visit this territory.

After reconnaissance campaigns, the Georgian security forces began to cut down the forest, and paved the way to the height above the plant, and on Sunday, August 25, hoisted their flag there. Local residents assure that they reported about the sudden activity of Georgians to the capital of the Republic, but by that time the checkpoint had already been put up. The villagers are glad to see to see the military, arrived from Tskhinval.

"We are calmer. Thank you for coming. We are afraid to return home. Georgians are walking around our village. They ask, take pictures, and we feel insecure," says Ella Alborova.

There are about 40 houses in the village of Tsnelis, about 16 families residing here permanently. The village is divided into two parts by a river. And about eight families are trapped Georgians today.

“This year I did not bring my children for the summer holidays, because it’s dangerous. I’m here with my mother. She’s 83 years old and I can’t leave her alone in this situation. My mother is afraid she’s under pressure from the thought that Georgians are walking freely in her native village,” says a local resident.

Journalists were able to take a clearer video. The frames show that at the checkpoint the Georgians settled quite tightly. About 30 people in dark camouflage uniforms, large tanks with drinking water and fortifications indicate that the plans to settle here are serious.

The situation is controlled by the head of the Republic, Anatoly Bibilov. He arrived in Tsnelis on Wednesday, accompanied by members of the Parliament, heads of law enforcement agencies, and assessed the situation on the spot.

By order of the head of the Republic, the border guards have been placed in the vicinity of the village to ensure the safety of residents of the village in Znaur District.

“To fully control the situation and wait for further orders of the leadership,” Bibilov said to representatives of the border service.

On behalf of the head of South Ossetia, the Presidential Envoy for post-conflict settlement Murat Dzhioev will bring to representatives of the mission of international observers in Georgia "the concern of the authorities, demanding to remove the illegal checkpoint from the territory of South Ossetia."

Мария Котаева для ИА "Рес"
Мой мир