Deaths in South Ossetia fighting

Georgia denies the presence of snipers and starting the exchange of fire.

    Tension in the Caucasus has risen in recent months [AFP]

    Lana Parasayeva, a spokeswoman for the province's government, told the AFP news agency that three members of South Ossetia's security forces were among the dead.

    She also said that Georgian forces later opened fire on Tskhinvali with heavy  weapons, killing another three civilians and wounding three more.

    'Hard-hitting response'
       
    Eduard Kokoity, South Ossetia's de facto president, told Interfax news agency that "our response to Tbilisi's aggressive actions will be very tough and hard-hitting".
      
    "We reserve the right to strike Georgian cities. We have something that can reach them."
      
    Shota Utiashvili, the Georgian interior ministry spokesman, denied that Georgian positions had fired first.
      
    "The Ossetians opened fire, including with grenade launchers, and the Georgian side only returned fire."

    He also said that Georgian police, not military forces, had been involved and that there are no Georgian snipers in South Ossetia.
      
    There were no reports of casualties among Georgian forces, he said.

    Fighting in South Ossetia, a small mountainous region that broke away from Georgian control during a war in the early 1990s, often flares up during the summer.
      
    Tensions over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian region, have soared in recent months since Russia announced it was establishing formal ties with the separatists.

    Unrest increased further last month with a series of bombings in Abkhazia, which the Abkhaz leadership blamed on Georgia, along with Moscow's admission that it had sent military jets on flights over South Ossetia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.