Stretching from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea shore to Georgia’s Black Sea coast, the Western Route Export pipeline has a capacity of 100 000 bbls/yr of oil.

Reports from Georgia indicate that Russian troops have claimed more territory for the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

After the war, Moscow recognized South Ossetia – along with the Georgian separatist enclave of Abkhazia – as independent states and stationed thousands of troops in the regions that make up some 20 percent of Georgian territory. A handful of Moscow-leaning countries followed suit, yet the worldwide community largely considers the region part of Georgia.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry called Russian Federation to take measures to stop this action.

Ms Chantladze stressed that the pipeline was operating as normal. “We don’t need physical access to maintain [the pipe]”.

Russian troops have patrolled the administrative border since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war over South Ossetia, and the installation of new signposts “had led to tension in the area, with potentially negative effects on the local population, their livelihood and freedom of movement”, said an European Union foreign policy representative.

Georgian activists protested on Tuesday what they describe as Russia’s “creeping annexation” at Georgia’s de-facto border with its breakaway province of South Ossetia, which left a part of a transnational oil pipeline on the South Ossetian side. Joint U.S.-Georgian military exercises aimed at preparing for Tblisi’s accession to the alliance were criticized by Russian officials.

Reports say markers have been placed at least 300m (980ft) further south into Georgian territory.

The appointment of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili as governor Ukraine’s Odessa province has also angered Russian Federation. He told Interpressnews that Georgia informed EU’s Monitoring Mission about activity of the group.