Georgians May Need Visas to Visit South Ossetia

Georgians may soon need visas to visit South Ossetia, the object of Georgia's five-day war with Russia in August, as the separatist region fortifies its borders.

"Within three months, border control posts will be placed along South Ossetia's frontier," South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said Thursday on his government's web site. "There will be only one point of entry."

Kokoity ordered the South Ossetian Foreign Ministry to introduce a visa regime with Georgia.

"Everyone who wishes to visit South Ossetia via Georgia will have to apply to the ministry for a visa," he said.

Russia routed Georgia's army in the August conflict and later recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, from Georgia.

Giorgi Gabashvili, a Georgian lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary commission that's investigating the war, dismissed Kokoity's visa plan.

"It's simply ridiculous for Georgians to need visas to visit their own territory. They won't get away with this," Gabashvili said in comments broadcast on Rustavi-2 television.

Abkhazia already requires foreign visitors to obtain a visa for $60 to visit the region.