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The sniper assassin: if the killing was ordered, then by whom?..2009-01-21 10:03
Georgia's Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili has declared that Moscow is trying to provoke Georgia into an armed response.
Commenting on the killing of a policeman in the village of Knoveli, he declared on 16th January in a broadcast on the Imedi TV channel:
"What happened today is an act of state terror from Russia. We are expecting further acts of provocation in this region, but Georgia will keep calm and is not intending to launch a large-scale military operation against Russia." And at the same time he stressed that he was expecting more acts of provocation.
Not doubting the truth of his tendentious ideas in the slightest, Yakobashvili, according to abkhazeti.info, went on to make some generalized accusations: "There is evidently nothing left for Russia to do apart from to organize acts of provocation in Georgia, Ukraine, Europe and other places around the world," he said.
According to reports from Georgia's Interior Ministry, on the morning of 16th January a shooting was carried out from South Ossetian territory. The bullet hit Mamuka Kukhniashvili, who was standing on a balcony of the police department building in the village of Knolevi. As a result, the 27-year old district police officer died at the scene. His body was taken away to Gori for further examination, where it was concluded that Mamuka Kukhniashvili had been killed by a sniper rifle fitted with a silencer.
A series of high-profile announcements followed from officials in Tbilisi, all of them with the same theme running through them: that Moscow had "put a hit out" on the policeman in order to destabilize the situation in the country.
Prime Minister Grigol Mlagoblishvili called Kukhniashvili "the latest victim of Russian aggression". And he expressed his condolences to his family. Georgia's Foreign Ministry once again demanded that international observers should be admitted into the conflict regions. What for? Obviously, "to stop deliberate acts of provocation from the Russian occupiers and the puppet regimes under their control". And, as Our Abkhazia went on to quote, he added: "to establish firm security guarantees and to prevent similar terrorist acts..."
The foreign ministry released the following figure: he is now the eleventh Georgian policeman to have been killed from the neighbouring territory in the last two months.
It then emerged that the "incontrovertible" nature of the prime minister's allegations was also clear to the EU Mission in Georgia. Gazeta quoted a categorical statement by the head of this mission General Gilles Janvier: "This is an unacceptable violation of the ceasefire agreement between Georgia and Russia".
No attention was paid to the denial of these accusations by South Ossetian officials. Following the logic of the EU observers, this denial clearly does not deserve to be trusted. Meanwhile, South Ossetia's Defence Ministry did not just issue a statement through its press service calling the Georgian Interior Ministry's arguments untrue and provocative. Extremely persuasive arguments were also made.
For example, the nearest Ossetian border posts to Knolevi are 4-5km away from it. "And it is physically impossible to shoot something, even with a sniper rifle, at that distance."