TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian TV crew of three was detained by Russian soldiers Tuesday on the de facto border with South Ossetia.
RES, the official news agency of the breakaway region confirmed that three Georgians had been detained, but failed to name the detainees.
Georgian media, however, gave their names as journalist Bela Zakaidze, cameraman Vakho Lekiashvili and technical specialist Mikheil Mikhoev all working at TV 3.
TV 3 was formerly known as Real TV, and is known for its close links to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, often cooperating with police and filming during their operations.
RES reports that the three were detained for violating the de facto border which runs around South Ossetia, formerly an autonomous region of Georgia during the Soviet Union which broke loose in 1991 but has not been recognized by more than a handful of countries.
Since the war in 2008, Russia has maintained bases there and in Abkhazia, another breakaway region, and the Russian security service FSB has had responsibility for protecting the borders of both regions.
Gocha Ratiani, Head of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Analysis, told Interpressnews that the ministry has been informed that the detainees are in good health and are currently in Tskhinvali, the administrative center of South Ossetia.
Bela Zakaidze was allowed to contact her family and told them she feels ok and was promised that they will be released soon.
Irina Imerlishvili, Secretary of Georgia’s Security Council, said Tuesday evening that the government is working to get the journalists released soon. The Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry are also involved.