The United States reiterated its concern over reports that Russian-backed authorities in the Georgian-breakaway region of South Ossetia are again erecting a fence near the administrative boundary line.
“The process of borderization indiscriminately and disproportionately affects civilians living in the area, separating them from their farmlands, family, livelihoods, and critical infrastructure,” U.S. Secretary of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said at a briefing on August 21.
She called for “an immediate halt” to the construction of the new fencing and for “Russia to suspend its illegal occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territory.”
This month marks the 11th anniversary of the five-day war between Russia and Georgia after which Tbilisi lost its regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Only a handful of countries have recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which comprise around 20 percent of Georgian territory, and Moscow’s backing of the regions has drawn broad international condemnation.
Russia has maintained troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia since the war.
On August 8, the United States, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, and Britain issued a joint statement urging Moscow to withdraw its military forces to the positions held before hostilities broke out.