Tuesday, February 10, 2009

South Ossetia says Georgian shells hit capital

The breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia alleged on Monday that two unexploded Georgian shells landed in its capital Tskhinvali, but Tbilisi dismissed the claim as nonsense.
Both sides have regularly accused each other of firing across the de facto border since the Moscow-backed region decisively broke from Georgian control in a war last August, but accusations of shell fire is rare.

"At 5:10 a.m. (2:10 a.m. British time) two shells... fired from the Georgian village of Nikozi broke up near the kindergarten on Dzhioyev Prospect" in Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian government said in a statement on its website (cominf.org).

"There were no casualties," the statement said. "The remains of the unexploded shells were found by Defence Ministry sappers."

Georgian Interior Ministry official Shota Utiashvili denied any attack had occurred. "This is nonsense. No such thing happened," he told Reuters.

Russia drove Georgian forces from South Ossetia in August, repelling a Georgian assault to retake the pro-Russian region which threw off Tbilisi's rule in the early 1990s.
Moscow has since recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, secured by thousands of Russian troops.


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