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Breakaway South Ossetia Plans 'To Demolish Georgian Villages'

South Ossetia's Leonid Tibilov (file photo)
South Ossetia's Leonid Tibilov (file photo)
The leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, has been quoted as saying that Georgian villages in the region will be torn down.

The Georgian population was driven out of the restive region and their abandoned houses were damaged during the five-day military conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008.

Tibilov added that the villages would also be stripped of their Georgian names as "the settlements will not exist."

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kapanadze harshly criticized the South Ossetian and Russian authorities for what he called a "continuation of the ethnic cleansing."

Moscow recognized South Ossetia and Georgia's other separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent countries after the Russian-Georgian war four years ago.

Georgia's government and nearly all of the rest of the world consider both regions still part of Georgia.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP

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