Saturday, September 20, 2008

New roads in South Ossetia?

TBILISI -- An official in the Border Police of Georgia says Russians are reportedly improving roads in South Ossetia to strengthen their position. The reports are however unconfirmed.

Roads in South Ossetia are spotty, at best. The region's infrastructure has not been well maintained since it attempted to break away from Georgia in the early 1990s. Since then South Ossetia's de facto government has refused money from Georgia for infrastructure because doing so would have been seen as acknowledging Georgia's control of the area.

To access several parts of South Ossetia requires going from Russian controlled territory into Georgian territory. The region has very few roads running east to west, and most of these are not passable in the winter. South Ossetia covers three valleys that open into central Georgia to the south, so most roads run north to south.

Before Russia invaded on Aug. 8, Georgia controlled most of the outlying areas that could only be accessed by entering uncontested Georgian territory.

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