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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.
Fidel Castro doesn’t expect to be alive to witness the end of President Obama’s first term in office. That is according to an editorial written by the former Cuban president on an official website.
“I have had the rare privilege of observing events over a long period of time. I get information and meditate carefully over these events,” Castro wrote. “I don’t expect to enjoy this privilege in four years, when Obama’s first term in office concludes.”
Castro watched the US inauguration on television and proceeded to express a trust in Barak Obama’s honesty, breaking a silence which lasted more than a month. His last essay was published on the 15th of December. Castro lavishes praise on the new U.S. president:
“The intelligent and noble face of the first black president of the United States since its founding two and one-third centuries ago as an independent republic had transformed itself under the inspiration of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King into a living symbol of the American dream,” the ex-Cuban leader writes.
“But despite noble intentions, there are still many questions to answer,” Castro added, specifically pointing out the question of whether a capitalist system can protect the environment.
The long break in Castro’s essay writing has prompted speculation about his health. He has largely kept out of public view since being treated for an undisclosed stomach complaint in 2006.