An incident in the breakaway region of South Ossetia has shone a spotlight on tensions between Russia and Georgia. A fight broke out between Georgian troops and Russian peacekeepers in the province, which is legally part of Georgia.
It happened when the Georgians tried to impound a Russian truck after it was involved in a traffic accident. Shots were fired into the air to stop the fistfight. South Ossetia and Abkhazia have de facto been independent for more than a decade, and Moscow has maintained close links with them, much to Tbilisi’s annoyance.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has pledged to bring the rebel regions back under his control. He has been riled by the fact that Moscow has granted Russian citizenship to many residents of the two provinces.
Ties between Moscow and Tbilisi slumped last month when explosions on a pipeline knocked out supplies of Russian gas to Georgia – The Kremlin denied Georgian accusations it was responsible.