Russia to Georgia: Return our kidnapped soldier
Moscow is demanding that Georgia releases a Russian army junior sergeant, who was captured in the Akhalgori district of South Ossetia and taken to Tbilisi, according to the Russian military.
Georgia, however, insists junior sergeant Aleksandr Glukhov fled his army unit due to unbearable conditions of service and applied to the Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, for asylum.
The Russian soldier’s appeal to Georgia’s president was recorded and after that shown on local TV and posted on the Internet.
Junior sergeant Glukhov proved Georgia’s claims that Russia was preparing for the August war in South Ossetia beforehand. He said he was moved to Tskhinval back in July to dig trenches and create other fortifications. He was transferred to Akhalgori on December 1.
“The conditions there were awful. We had no bath. There was not enough food and it was very bad. A lot of military equipment was stationed there with us – tanks, infantry combat vehicles, ‘Grad’ multiple launch systems, aimed in the direction of the Georgian villages. That’s why I request the President of Georgia keep me in Tbilisi,” Aleksandr Glukhov said.
Tbilisi is going to consider the pledge thoroughly after Glukhov undertakes a course of psychological and medical rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defence Ministry spokesman, Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, called Georgia’s claims a provocation. He said: “Glukhov could only make such statements under moral or physical pressure”.
Following Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia in August, relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have been tense. In August, Russia recognised the independence of the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
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