GEORGIA

Russia accused of 'penetrating into Georgian territory'

Georgia has accused Russia of "shifting the border of the breakaway region of South Ossetia deeper into Georgian territory". On Saturday, Moscow threatened to use force after accusing Georgia of "provocations" in the province.

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AFP - Georgia on Sunday accused Russia of shifting the border of South Ossetia deeper into Georgian territory, further fueling tensions one year after the two fought a flash war over the breakaway region.

The incident on Sunday "represents an attempt by the Russian occupants to penetrate into the depth of Georgian territory," a Georgian foreign ministry statement said.

The ministry "condemns this action and emphasises that Russia is held fully responsible for any further provocation."

The statement asserted that "Russian occupants entered the village of Kveshi (in) Gori district and with the aim of shifting the so-called 'border', marked off the territory of the Georgian village with posts."

Long-standing tension over the pro-Moscow province has heated up in recent weeks. On Saturday, Russia threatened to use force after accusing Georgia of "provocations" in South Ossetia, raising fears of a new battle for control.

South Ossetia broke off from the rest of Georgia in fighting in the early 1990s and received Russian backing for years.

Georgia, which insists the region remains an integral part of its territory and is backed by the West, launched an offensive last August to retake control, but Russia riposted with a large-scale military operation into Georgia.

After the lightening, five-day conflict, Moscow recognised South Ossetia and another breakway region, Abkhazia, as independent states and has stationed thousands of troops in both regions.

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