South Ossetian authorities on Sunday accused Georgia of moving its troops close to the separatist region's borders, saying that an artillery battalion and two mortar batteries from the 4th motorized brigade of the Georgian Defense Ministry had started movement from the army base in Georgia's eastern town of Gori towards the separatist republic's capital, Tskhinvali.
"The information that manpower and armor are being concentrated near the Tskhinvali region does not correspond to reality," Nana Intskirveli, head of the press office of the Georgian Defense Ministry, said.
The conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia intensified after the breakaway region's authorities accused the South Caucasus republic of shelling its territory late on Friday and early on Saturday, as a result of which six people were killed and 13 wounded. Meanwhile, Georgia blamed the separatists for provoking armed clashes.
South Ossetia leader Eduard Kokoity said on Saturday he was ready to mobilize men in the separatist republic and take volunteers from other Caucasus republics to fight Georgia.
South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Hundreds died in the bloody conflict that followed. The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the region, along with another breakaway republic, Abkhazia, back under central control.
Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili said on Sunday that Georgia was ready for direct negotiations with South Ossetia without preconditions.