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They are going to pay for firewood2009-10-30 15:50
The Georgian woodcutters detained in South Ossetia will not be released that soon, as it has been promised by some of the Georgian media with reference to negotiators: they will most probably pay a fine. International observers have made sure that the woodcutters were really sawing wood in the territory of South Ossetia. The only point is that neither EU, nor Georgia is going to admit the border guarded by the Russian military to be the state one.
The Georgian media are expecting 16 detained people from the village of Gremiskhevi including two Tbilisians to be released in a little while. Supposedly, yesterday, according to an agreement achieved at the meeting of the Ossetian, Russian and Georgian parties with the assistance of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) they were to be released by seven o'clock in the previous evening.
EUMM examined the place where the woodcutters were detained. The statements of the Russian border guards about the violation of the border entrusted to them according to the agreements on military cooperation between Russia and South Ossetia have proven to be true. However, the observers and the Georgian representatives refused to sign the protocol of inspection, having referred to the absence of relevant powers.
According to the mission's report published on its website, the citizens of Georgia crossed the "administrative border as far as 100 meters maximum"; consequently, they "committed an administrative, not a criminal offence". In the opinion of EU, the incident does not need any further investigation.
According to the version of the Medianews Georgian agency, the Georgians went there without any malice: they just wanted to get some firewood for the winter.
According to a source of Russian newspaper Commersant in the Russian MFA, they were professional poachers sawing fine wood to be sent to a furniture plant in Georgia. "Thus, all these laments about those people merely preparing firewood for the winter do not quadrate to facts", - the source underlined.
Still, the international observers recommended releasing the woodcutters, for the absence of men "seriously affects the everyday life" of the village of Gremiskhevi. Moreover, the EU representatives suggested introducing special rules regulating the movement of the citizens on both sides of the border. During the meeting, the parties also agreed to maintain communication between the police offices of the Dushetskiy region, Russian FSS and the Forest Departments of Georgia and South Ossetia.