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Saakashvili prepares for war with Russia
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has called on military top brass to build “total defense” and accused Russia of planning to “overthrow Georgian democracy.”
Not only has Russia not given up its “plan to control Georgia, but they are working intensively on that,” Saakashvili said, speaking at a meeting with army top commanders and senior Defense Ministry’s officials. The president said his assessment was based on Russia’s “rhetoric and information war carried out on daily, minute-by-minute basis against Georgia.”
The Georgian leader expects an attack of “the enemy force… from the ethnically-cleansed territories,” referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, recognized by Russia as independent states in 2008.
Saakashvili set the task for his military to “burn each and every square meter of the Georgian land” beneath an enemy if it decides to invade the country. For this, the country should develop not only armed forces, but also a civil defense system, he said. Defense of the country is “a matter for each and every citizen” and “each village should be able to defend itself,” he stressed.
Although Tbilisi had to cut military budget for 2010 because of the economic crisis, “money will be invested in education, training and the increase of professionalism,” Saakashvili said.
Meanwhile, the Georgian army is gaining experience in Afghanistan. The participation in the military operation in that country is important from a geopolitical point of view and it is “a good military school,” Saakashvili said. “We need experience, as we need total defense,” he added.
“Fear sees danger everywhere,” an anonymous source in the Russian Defense Ministry told Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily. “No one is planning to do anything against Georgia, unless its government repeats the cruel behavior it resorted to two years ago. The fruits of that mistake proved to be bitter for the Georgian leadership, and it should have learned its lesson.”
The president’s speech does not contain any real threat, believes Georgian political scientist Gia Khukhashvili. When speaking before the military, the head of any state tries to raise the army’s morale, because such are “the rules of the game,” he told the daily. And thinking of a military revenge against Russia is “simply illogical,” he stressed.
Georgia expands military budget amid rising paranoia
Published 08 August, 2010, 10:21
While the Georgian people have set their minds on peace, their leadership is more concerned with war and has spent over thirty times more on its military budget than economic development.
President Mikhail Saakashvili is up in arms over his country’s defense capabilities.
“Each village should be able to defend itself. There should be small trained units in each village and each settlement, which have a certain number of arms, so that everyone can defend their own land,” Saakashvili said at the end of July.
Ever since the 2008 war in South Ossetia, the Georgian president appears to hold the belief that Russia is his country’s top enemy, claiming that Moscow still plans to attack Georgia and calling for full-scale militarization.
“If the enemy force decides to advance from the ethnically cleansed territories, each and every square meter of Georgian land should burn beneath them,” Saakashvili said. “That’s the task.”
The president's rhetoric has raised a number of concerns, not only in South Ossetia and the other former Georgian republic of Abkhazia, but even in Georgia itself.
Ucha Nanuashvili, Executive Director of the non-governmental organization The Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre, sees it as an attempt by the Georgian president to hold on to his authority, which has been severely shaken following the conflict of 2008.
“We expect that this campaign will be used to launch some kind of new incident, some new war with breakaway regions,” Nanuashvili suggested. “[Saakashvili] needs to keep his power, to survive, and war is the main way to do it. I think that’s the main reason.”
Writer and political activist Irakli Kakabadze also thinks that nationwide militarization should certainly not be Georgia’s top priority as it could have disastrous effects.
“This could lead to another war,” Kakabadze said. “This cannot be good for Georgia. [Saakashvili] needs to stop putting investment into militarization and start putting the money into education, civil society, and economic growth; it’s an everyday process.”
Terror attacks: blast in Southern Russia, dozens injured
Published 18 August, 2010, 08:24
Edited 19 August, 2010, 11:50
Police in Moscow are on high alert as authorities fear more terror attacks could follow a car bombing in Russia's Caucasus.
Police in Moscow are on high alert as authorities fear more terror attacks could follow a car bombing in Russia's Caucasus.
At least thirty people have been injured in a blast in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk. The Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office has qualified the incident as a terrorist attack.
According to local police reports, the explosives were placed in a car parked near a cafe.
The explosion in the bustling central part of the city damaged cars in the surrounding area and destroyed the cafe.
The street where the bomb exploded is one of the busiest, and is situated just five minutes walk from the local police station and administration headquarters.
Many believe scores more would most likely have died had it not been for a sudden downpour that emptied the usually busy street where the attack took place.
A Chechen militant Doku Umarov with links to Al-Qaeda is thought to be behind the blast.
Pyatigorsk is a small resort city in the North Caucasus, a cultural center of the region.
Two militants allegedly behind blasts at hydropower plant killed - police
Published 26 July, 2010, 00:02
Edited 27 July, 2010, 17:58
Police say the have killed two militants who allegedly staged the attack at the Baksan hydropower station in the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, in which two people were killed and two more injured.
The militants were identified as Orshokdugov and Seyunov, and were both on the police’s wanted list. The men were armed with two pistols, grenades and other munitions and were killed after they resisted arrest, said a spokesperson for the local police.
On July 21, four blasts rocked the power plant, damaging three electric generators, while another bomb was found unexploded and subsequently defused. The explosive devices were reportedly equivalent up to 3 kilograms of TNT.
The blasts set the turbine room ablaze, with the fire spreading up to 250 square meters. The firefighters managed to extinguish it in the space of several hours.
The attackers, reportedly at least 6 men, murdered two security guards and beat up and tortured with knives two turbine room workers trying to find out the location of the control switches.
Terrorists trained in Georgia to attack Russia – official
Published 15 January, 2010, 13:17
Edited 12 May, 2010, 13:01
Terrorist groups are being trained in Georgia to launch attacks in Russia’s North Caucasian and southern regions, Russia's Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev said.
According to the official, the groups are being trained by foreign instructors at Georgian military bases. The ministry official didn’t clarify what nationality the instructors were. Nor did he accuse the Georgian government of being involved in the issue.
Yedelev said North Ossetia, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia are being targeted by militants for “destabilization,” RIA Novosti reported.
He was speaking Thursday at a session devoted to the results of the North Ossetian Interior Ministry's work in the republic's capital Vladikavkaz. Yedelev called on local law enforcement agencies “to seriously take into account the increasing activity of structures and groups, including radical religious ones.”
"Islamic clergymen who speak against religious extremism are now receiving more threats," he said. The deputy minister warned that the danger of attacks on imams would increase.
The threat of international terrorism is still present in Russia’s South, Yedelev said.
“Last year the North Caucasus region saw a 19% increase in the number of terrorism-related crimes, including bombings and armed attacks, or 637 such crimes," he said. In North Ossetia alone, there were five attacks on representatives of law enforcement agencies.
It is not the first time that Russia has voiced its concerns over Georgia’s link with militants. In autumn 2009, Aleksandr Bortnikov, head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said Georgian special services were helping Al Qaeda members to wage terrorism in Russia’s southern regions.
FSB accuses Georgia of links with Al Qaeda militants
Published 13 October, 2009, 21:00
Edited 24 December, 2009, 10:56
The head of the Russian Federal Security Service claims Georgian special services are helping Al Qaeda members to wage terrorism in Russia’s southern regions.
Speaking with the media on Tuesday, Aleksandr Bortnikov, referred to a surge in militant attacks in Russia’s southern republics according to Interfax.
“Bandits have returned to ‘suicide terrorist’ tactics. The number of armed attacks on law enforcement officers and public servants has increased.”
Since June, nineteen terror acts have been prevented in the region, with 178 militants eliminated or arrested, including an Al Qaeda member who coordinated attacks.
The head of the FSB went on to accuse Georgian special services of aiding the militants in Russia.
“Recorded audio reports discovered at militant bases point to the fact that they and Al Qaeda representatives have established contacts with Georgia’s special services, and they aided in training and transporting terrorists into the Chechen Republic’s territory,” and adding, “They also attempt to deliver weapons, explosives and money to commit sabotage at sensitive facilities in Dagestan, primarily at gas and oil pipelines.”
Bortnikov also reported that leaders of a local militant gang, suspects of the attempt to assassinate Ingushetian President, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, in late June, have been killed in a firefight.
He also revealed that a suicide bomber was captured in Moscow in September, when an individual planning an attack scheduled for Moscow City Day was intercepted. Other members of the five strong group had been previously arrested.
Russians warned against Georgia travel after string of police setups
Published 01 September, 2010, 16:17
The Russian Foreign Ministry has cautioned Russian citizens against traveling to Georgia, saying they could end up being prosecuted there.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry again insistently urges Russian citizens to refrain from traveling to Georgia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Nesterenko said as quoted in a statement, posted on the ministry's website on Wednesday.
Nesterenko also said that in accordance with Georgian laws, individuals visiting Abkhazia and South Ossetia without official permission from Tbilisi will come under prosecution, involving large fines or even imprisonment if they appear in Georgia.
“The goal of this practice is clear,” Nesterenko explained, “The Georgian authorities are resorting to all means available to cut Abkhazia and South Ossetia's communication with the rest of the world.”
He went on to say that “weapons, false bills and drugs are planted on Russian citizens, and criminal cases are fabricated, after which they are thrown behind bars.”
“We continue efforts to get lawlessness stopped in relation to our citizens through the Swiss side, which represents Russia's interests in Georgia,” Nesterenko added.
The move comes a few days after Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the Russian government daily newspaper, came up with a report about several Russian and Armenian citizens arrested at different times in Georgia on a charge of illegal border crossing.
The paper cited the men’s relatives who told that the Fourth Bureau of Georgia’s Interior Ministry, often referred to as the country’s KGB, is behind the arrests. The men, who had visited their friends in Abkhazia and South Ossetia before returning to Russia via Georgia, were offered to pay an official bribe ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, but when the detained refused to pay they were taken to the Gldani prison on the outskirts of Tbilisi.
In October 2008, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili issued a controversial “Decree on occupied territories” meaning Abkhazia and South Ossetia – two independent states recognized by Russia and some other countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela. Among other prescriptions, the decree obliges foreign citizens to travel to the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia only through Georgia. Otherwise Georgia reserves to right to fine and even arrest the violators. Now Russian and Armenian citizens (Armenia has been Russia’s main strategic partner in the region) have been black-listed and are treated “specially”.
ROAR: Two years on, Abkhazia, South Ossetia still count on Russia
Published 25 August, 2010, 17:53
Edited 01 September, 2010, 02:54
Russia’s recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia two years ago remains the main factor of political and economic stability of the former Georgian republics.
Abkhazia’s international positions have strengthened in the past two years, the country’s president, Sergey Bagapsh, said on August 24. He was speaking at a round table discussion to mark the anniversary of Russia’s recognition of the two former Georgian republics.
Bagapsh described the recognition of his republic’s independence as a historic event, to which Abkhazians “had been moving for long years.” Since then, "the activity aimed at attaining the recognition of Abkhazia by other countries has assumed special significance,” he was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.
“Abkhazia will never be part of Georgia, it will develop as an independent state” he stressed.
Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba said that there was no alternative to the strategic union between Sukhum and Moscow. Russia is “the only strategic ally of the republic,” he noted at the round table.
Russian recognition solved the most important question of any state and any society; that is security and economic development, Shamba added.
Georgia hosts militant training bases – official
Published 06 September, 2010, 17:19
Special camps have been established in Georgia where militants are being trained to be later sent to Russia, said a Russian senior Interior Ministry official.
“Georgia has become visibly active lately. We have information that special military training camps have been created on the territory of the country,” the deputy head of the Interior Ministry's North Caucasus federal district department, police Major General Nikolay Simakov said in an interview with newspaper Vremya Novostey.
“Caucasian natives – mainly criminals – or those who are wanted in European countries are being gathered here, trained and later then sent to [Russia] via neighboring countries,” he added.
Not long ago, he said, a group of militants attempted to cross into Russia from Azerbaijan. Two people – an Azerbaijani border guard and a militant – were killed in a shootout and two others were detained. “During the interrogation it was revealed that they had French and Austrian residence permits,” Simakov said. According to the official, the suspects were recruited in Europe by extremist organizations and sent for training to Georgia. Following the training, the militants were supposed to operate on Russian territory.
The military official noted that “using Wahhabism, some countries' certain forces who are interested in maintaining instability in the North Caucasus provide financial assistance and send their emissaries there.”
“I cannot say to what extent these forces act on behalf of those states,” he added. However, he went on, there have been occasions when Arab nationals who are fighting in the North Caucasus were detained and eliminated.
Russia has been striving to bring the situation in the troubled region under control, but it is still far from stable. In a fresh wave of violence, three servicemen were killed and dozens injured in a suicide attack in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday.
Demonstrators accuse Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili of corruption and of blocking democratic reforms
Sergei Bagapsh, president of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, has died aged 62, Abkhaz officials say.
They say he passed away in a Moscow hospital from complications following recent lung surgery.
By Eli Lake-The Washington Times8:42 p.m., Thursday, July 21, 2011
Shota Utiashvili, the most senior official in charge of intelligence analysis for the ministry, said in an interview with The Washington Times that the recent spate of bombings and attempted bombings - including what he said was a blast targeting the U.S. Embassy - was the work of Russian GRU officer Maj. Yevgeny Borisov.
A Georgian court has charged Maj. Borisov, who is based in the Russian-occupied province of Abkhazia, with being the mastermind behind a spate of 12 bombings and attempted bombings throughout the country in the past year. These attempts include the detonation of a military-grade explosive about 100 yards from the U.S. Embassy in Tblisi on Sept. 22. No deaths or injuries were reported.
“These are extraordinarily specific and detailed allegations delivered by the government of Georgia,” said Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican. “On the basis of this report, the Congress should examine these allegations of a Russian-sponsored attack on a U.S. Embassy and its personnel.
Published: 18 Jul 2011
Gogita Arkania, a convicted Georgian terrorist, described how he had been recruited in Abkhazia by Russian military officer Yevgeny Borisov in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant July 17. Kommersant correspondent Olga Allenova met with Arkania, who is sentenced to 30 years, in his detention facility in Tbilisi
This is American embassy. You just set a bomb near its fence.` I refused, but he asked me if I cared more about the Americans than about my relatives. He said if I did what he asked I would forget about him then and my relatives would not suffer. I believed him. But later on he said that was not enough and I had to do more. He threatened that he would hand me in to the police,” Arkania said.
Arkania refused to perform the assignments, but his fear for the family was stronger. He set off the bomb together with Merab. Then he was supposed to set off a bomb on railroad in Poti, but that did not work out. Arkania also set off a bomb in the small Borjomi railway station in Tbilisi. Borisov insisted the bomb be blown up in the crowded station hall, but Arkania got scared and executed a “small terrotist attack.”
BORISOV, Evgeny (evgeni)
Categories of Offences: TERRORISM
Arrest Warrant Issued by: CHAMBER OF CRIMINAL CASES OF TBILISI CITY COURT / Georgia
The Tbilisi City Court found fifteen people guilty of terrorism and sentenced most of them, some in absentia, to lengthy prison terms in connection to series of explosions including in the capital city Tbilisi, which Georgia said was ordered by a Russian military officer.
The court said in a statement on June 28, that Russian military officer, Yevgeny Borisov, at the time serving in Abkhazia, and a Gali-based Mukhran Tskhadaia, “who was cooperating with the Russian special services, formed a terrorist group with a purpose to terrorize population in various parts of Georgia, to trigger unrests and to target Georgian state’s strategic, political and economic interests.”
Yevgeny Borisov was sentenced to 30 years in prison in absentia.
Upon Georgia’s request Interpol issued “red notice” to assist in the arrest of Maj. Borisov. “Red notice” allows arrest warrants issued by national police authorities to be circulated to other countries to facilitate arrests and help possible extradition.
October 13, 2014
The U.S. command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) entered the Black Sea on Saturday — a day after guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) — bringing the total of American naval ships in the region to two, according on a release from U.S. 6th Fleet.
French signals intelligence ship — Dupuy de Lôme (A759) — is also due in the Black Sea by Friday
All warships from countries without a coast on the Black Sea operate under the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.
Montreux rules call for foreign warships to depart the Black Sea after 21 days.
26 June 2017
From time to time, it is reported that the Russian troops have moved the demarcation line southward. Moreover, much of the boundary is actually without a fence.
Although the border’s movement might seem uncontrollable, one explanation behind it could be the geography of the territory: small hills, open valleys, etc. No veritable military infrastructure can be found along the demarcation lines. Thus, the Russians are moving southward to find a defensible territory. However, a much more important factor could be at play: bringing it closer to the main east-west highway (Baku–Tbilisi–Kutaisi–Poti).
In some places, it is said that the Russian military units in South Ossetia are only several hundred meters from the highway. Indeed, the Russians see that by cutting the highway, they will be able to paralyze the entire South Caucasus. Furthermore, another threat which the Russians are posing is their artillery’s proximity to strategic pipelines and railways that carry oil, natural gas and goods from Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea to Europe.
13 July 2017
As reports of a ‘Russian land-grab’ make the rounds locally and internationally, authorities in both Tbilisi and Tskhinvali (Tskhinval) say that the line dividing South Ossetia from Tbilisi-controlled territory has not been moved.
South Ossetia has also denied claims that Russian FSB troops had advanced deeper into Tbilisi-controlled territory near Bershueti village, claiming the ‘banners were installed in accordance to the existing map’ and that Tbilisi was informed about the move beforehand.
Georgia has long accused Russia, whom it considers the only legitimate side in the South Ossetian conflict, of implementing a ‘creeping occupation’. There is no natural border between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi controlled territories and the gradual installation of fences on the line separating both territories — variously referred to as the ‘administrative boundary line’, ‘occupation line’, and ‘state border’ — has been described by Georgian authorities as illegal. In the past, this demarcation process, known locally as ‘borderisation’ has resulted in South Ossetia pushing farther into Tbilisi-controlled territory.
Dzhioyev said that two signs were installed in June so that ‘residents of the bordering villages could understand where they were allowed to cultivate fields, and where not to’. The new signs cut one farmer, Gia Khodeli, off from the agricultural land he cultivated.
On 8 July, after the installation of the signs, tens of Georgian students held a protest in Bershueti against the demarcation, rallying against ‘Russian occupation’. Dzhioyev said that protesters broke the sign and wrote obscene words on it.
On 12 July, RFE/RL’s Georgian service reported that South Ossetia started digging trenches in the vicinity of four villages of Avlevi, Knolevi, Tseronisi, and Tamarasheni. Dzhioyev asserted the trenches were being dug ‘so that fire would not spread on a large scale’.
For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.
14 July 2017
Stoltenberg expressed concern over the recent developments in the breakaway regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia, adding that NATO does not recognize these territories as independent states and republics.
“As the NATO Secretary General I declare that we are concerned having observed that the so-called border was moved for several times,” Stoltenberg stated, adding that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are integral parts of Georgia.
16 Jul 2017
So-called border guards detained Abesalom Kokolashvili in the village of Avlevi in Kareli region while he was grazing his cattle.
Witnesses said, so-called border guards attacked the men unexpectedly.
Kokolashvili has allegedly been detained for "illegally crossing the border” and taken to Tskhinvali jail.
Two locals of the village of Tsitelubani in the municipality of Gori, Vasil Bolotaevi and Tengiz Kajirovi, were also detained while grazing their cows near the occupation line yesterday.
Based on the preliminary information, they were taken to the Ossetian controlled territory. However, the local government said no exact location of the detainees has yet been revealed.
The explosion ripped through Defense Minitry premises in the village of Primorskoye. As many as 60 people, including 27 Russian citizens, were injured as a result of the explosion. Many of them were hospitalized with multiple shrapnel wounds caused with ruptured shells, rocks and debris.
Two female residents of St. Petersburg fell accidental victims of the explosion. On the ill-fated day, they went to ride horses on the territory in the immediate vicinity of the military depot.
A Russian tourist was killed while being robbed by an armed group on 11 July.
The Russian embassy made a statement about the incidents calling for Russians to be more cautious while visiting Abkhazia.
South Ossetia will shut down its border with Georgia until August 9 due to days of mourning, the republic’s State Security Committee told TASS.
The checkpoints will resume operation at 7.00 a.m. Moscow Time (5.00 a.m. BST) on August 9, 2017.
Overnight to August 8, 2008, Georgia attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia.