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Medal of Honor as a bargaining chip for Tbilisi?2009-03-03 14:55
The leaders of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry were given reward by Saakashvili's envoy. Georgia expressed its gratitude for Kiev's support at the time of the August war by awarding Medals of Honor. When Russian tanks were drawing the aggressor away from Tskhinval Ukrainian diplomats "displayed heroism and personal courage" according to Tbilisi.
Georgia's Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze awarded two Medals of Honor to his colleague Vladimir Ogryzko and his deputy Konstantin Eliseev for "personal courage they displayed in August". It was Eliseev who faced a difficult task on the first days of war: to overcome morals and conscience and declare humanitarian and moral support of Georgia's actions in South Ossetia as well as military assistance. Two days later Vladimir Ogryzko who had to cancel his vacation on emergency continued his deputy's mission and went to Tbilisi "in order to discuss measures to stop military confrontation", as media reported.
Naturally Russia started discussing Georgian-Ukrainian "battlefield friendship". And this is what Kiev replied to the accusations of Russian authorities of "arming-to-the-teeth" of the Georgian army: allegedly the arms supplies conformed with international law as they were done before the beginning of hostilities. The Russian Joint Staff had different information. To make sense of the scandal Verkhovnaya Rada formed a special committee led by Valery Konovalyuk. After the deputies found "sufficient facts to bring Viktor Yushenko to responsibility" the committee's activity was stopped. The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) considered it unsafe for the country's interests. However Konovalyuk had enough time to find out that the contracts of Ukrainian arms supplies to Georgia had been undercharged.
Another manifestation of friendship was presence of the Ukrainian mercenaries within the Georgian army. The "independent Ukraine" keeps denying the fact. As early as in September the head of the SSU press service Marina Ostapenko mentioned attempts at recruiting Ukrainians for participation in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict. Ex militaries were promised remuneration in the amount of USD 200-500 per day for it according to Kavkazsky Uzel with reference to the SSU.
Eventually such "civil" support of Georgia was in no contradiction with Ukraine's foreign policy. However after "Russia" TV broadcast "Insider-Outsider" film by Arkady Mamontov on participation of Ukrainians in the hostilities near Tskhinval the SSU threatened "violent measures" against the author and got to searching for those who had provided the journalist with the video records.