Giorgi Giunashvili Case

Russian Deputy FM: We are Not Chasing Down Georgian Soldiers, We are Investigating Criminal Cases

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The Prime Minister’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Prague on the 7th of February. Before the meeting, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin commented to the press that the case of Giorgi Tserstvadze, a Georgian soldier who was detained in Kyiv on Moscow’s request, will also be discussed during the talks.

“The case regards a crime which he [Tserstvadze] committed on Russian territory in 2003. We have the documentation; we wouldn’t send a groundless demand to Interpol. At today’s meeting we will be exchanging the arguments, as this is a humanitarian issue,” he said.

“Regarding chasing down Georgian soldiers - that does not happen. We are investigating criminal cases, which unfortunately are committed on Russian or Georgian territories. For example, there is a certain Lakaev who is currently in Georgia, who is a suspect in the murder of a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia. He’s now in prison,” Karasin elaborated when speaking to Rustavi 2.

Georgian Vice-Colonel Giorgi Tsertsvadze was detained in Kyiv on Moscow’s request, but was released on January 27.

Russia brought murder charges against Tsertsvadze in 2003. However, an international warrant for his arrest was issued only in 2016. The Georgian soldier was initially put in pre-trial detention for 40 days by Kyiv Municipal Court.

The Prime Minister’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, however,  says that discussion of the Tsertsvadze case is not on the agenda.

At the meeting in Prague the two sides will speak about detained the Giorgi Giunashvili case, who was sentenced this week to 20 years in prison by a court in de facto South Ossetia. Giunashvili was initially arrested on 8 June, 2016 for illegally crossing the Administrative Border Line.

The court in de facto South Ossetia is arguing that Giunashvili was involved in diversified-terroristic activities.

The meeting in Prague was held as part of an informal bilateral dialogue that was launched in late 2012. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the next meeting is expected to be held in the beginning of 2017. Abashidze and Karasin previously met in October 2016.

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