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Another arms scandal in store for Kiev?2009-03-02 09:55
February 25: The Ministry of Press and Mass Communications of South Ossetia disseminated information that Georgia was planning to purchase AP mines in Ukraine. Official Kiev contradicts it.
According to the information from South Ossetia on December 17 2008 Georgia's Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili addressed Ukrspetsexport management asking to ship "special products". It was stated that the mines were intended for Georgia's "internal needs". Commenting on a possible deal the Ministry of Press makes the following conclusion:
"Needless to explain that no state will apply this kind of arms in its territory against its own people, - RIA Novosti is quoting. - That means Georgia's "internal need" is to set up smart deathful devices in some other territories".
It is curious that shortly before dissemination of the information an RSO Interior Ministry officer was blown up by an unknown explosive device and was severely injured as Rosbalt reports. The explosion took place in the village of Artsev, near the Georgian border. This incident with the injured power officer could be the last straw that made republican authorities call the attention of the world to these facts.
It will be remembered that on February 18 Georgia's parliamentary committee on international relations backed the country's adherence to the Geneva Convention protocol. In compliance with it Georgia shall not use AP mines and shall demine the territories after the ceasefire.
Georgia's involvement in the border accident is not proved. However regular provocations of the Georgian militaries keep civilians in constant fear, and the authorities - under stress. There is also the issue of Ukraine supplying arms for the Georgian army that Russia repeatedly discussed in autumn by the way. Then Kiev stated legality of the shipments and their compliance with international norms. The dispute subsided though now it can flare up anew.
If the information above is confirmed Georgia and Ukraine might be involved in a serious international scandal.
The Georgian side denies the possibility of mines procurement. Shota Utiashvili, Georgia's Interior Ministry Spokesman was quite categorical about it in his interview with RIA Novosti: "There is no arms procurement from Ukraine at the moment.
There has been no letter from Georgia's Interior Ministry to Kiev offering to buy arms including AP mines". The Defense Ministry of Ukraine reported they had no information on sales of arms to Georgia.