S. Ossetian authorities open crossing points with Georgia for pensioners, seriously ill
After almost six months of isolation, the authorities of South Ossetia have opened checkpoints enabling the people of Akhalgori to move to territory controlled by Tbilisi.
The checkpoints were closed by the South Ossetian authorities on September 5, after the Georgian authorities established a police checkpoint between the village of Chorchana of the Khashuri municipality and the village of Tsnelis, located in the territory controlled by Tskhinval/i.
The Ossetian considered the actions of the Georgian side unacceptable and closed the checkpoints. The decision of the South Ossetian authorities particularly affected the residents of the Akhalgori district, most of whom are Georgians.
After the 2008 war, and the Georgians living in South Ossetia were forced to leave, only Georgians from this district were allowed to return home.
According to some reports, at least two residents of the Akhalgori region have died due to the closed border, and they were unable to receive qualified medical care in Georgian hospitals.
For people who have received permission to go to the Georgian side, they have 10 days to resolve their affairs, be it related to pensions, or medical care. In 10 days the checkpoints will be closed again, and henceforth will be opened once every two months.
A similar decision was made by the authorities of South Ossetia on December 2 last year, but only now applied.
Moreover, initially, as a condition for opening the checkpoints, the South Ossetian authorities demanded the liquidation of the above-mentioned police post near the village of Chorchan. But they were forced to open the border due to the severe humanitarian situation in Akhalgori.
As local Georgian activist Tamar Mearakishvili told JAMnews, not only Georgians, but also Ossetians living in the Akhalgori district are dissatisfied with Tskhinvali’s policies.
Mearakishvili described the situation in the area: people do not have money, they do not have enough food, they do not have qualified medical care, as a result of which several residents have died, there is no possibility of heating one’s home, and many people are sick. According to her, it is practically a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe.
On January 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on the situation in Akhalgori. He assigned responsibility for the situation to the Georgian side, although he acknowledged that the actions of the Ossetian side in response to the opening of the Georgian police checkpoint were excessive.