Russia plans checkpoints outside S.Ossetia

GORI, Georgia (Reuters) – Georgia said on Saturday Russian forces planned to establish checkpoints at eight locations skirting South Ossetia and Georgia’s main East-West highway.

A senior Georgian government official said some checkpoints would reach at least 12 km (eight miles) inside Georgia proper from breakaway South Ossetia.

“We will be negotiating with them about the number and location of checkpoints in the future,” Security Council secretary Kakha Lomaia told Reuters.

He said the Russians wanted to hold positions at Natsreti, Karaleti, Perevi, Variani, Natakhtevi, Ikoti, Jvari Pass and Kvenatkotsa.

Both Natsreti and Kvenatkotsa are located adjacent to the main East-West highway in Georgia, a vital trade route to the Black Sea coast, but Lomaia said the checkpoints would not control traffic.

Lomaia said the Natsreti position would be located on a hillside above the road. A Reuters correspondent saw Russian armored personnel carriers moving in the area on Saturday.

The correspondent said Russian checkpoints on the highway had been removed.

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