Georgia goes into uranium assault26.04.2010 | 10:22
President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili decided to fight Russia using "nuclear weapon". He goes on tarnishing the hostile country's reputation by way of accusing it of highly enriched uranium trafficking. Meanwhile, the experts underline that no evidence of the Russian origin of the substance arrested in Georgia has been supplied.
The Georgian president is tired of listening to the Russian officials' accusations of drugs trafficking and connections with the Chechen terrorists, so he decided that an "attack" would be the best form of defense and made similar serious demands on Russia.
In Washington, during the nuclear safety summit, in his interview with the American media Mikhail Saakashvili made a casual observation: "There were cases when the fact of the enriched uranium trafficking was established at our boundaries and we need strength and strategy to fight it".
The hint was quite clear, so long as the grounds for accusing Russia have been prepared beforehand. For instance, in March, the Georgian police detained a group of smugglers with several grams of uranium on them. It was enriched by 70 percent and was supposedly transported from Russia. Tbilisi informed the International Nuclear Energy Agency (MAGATE) of the fact.
Some time earlier, the Georgian experts told the world that Russia was going to store radioactive waste in the Abkhaz tourist paradise. This was allegedly reported by mail by a trusted source in the Abkhaz power department. The letter was received by Levan Kiknadze who had earlier been head of the Abkhaz administration of the Georgian State Security.
A relevant "legend" of the times when Sukhum was ruled by Vladislav Ardzinba was found to ground the suspicions: one of the containers with uranium-235 suitable for creating mass destruction weapon disappeared from the special repository in the territory of the Sukhum Physics and Technology institute (SPTI).
According to Kiknadze, Russia expressed no desire to investigate the fact of disappearance together with Georgia, although it was almost the only case of stealing radioactive uranium in the world.
The statement of the Georgian expert was refuted by SPTI Director Anatoli Markolia. He said that there is no uranium in Sukhum already. The MAGATE officials came to Sukhum three times and remained quite satisfied with the fact that they were allowed to go anywhere they wanted and that they did not find any radiation. Neither is anyone going to bring any waste to Abkhazia today.
However, Kiknadze was dissatisfied with Markolia's words: he said that the latter was constantly giving the conversation another turn. Meanwhile, the Georgian expert says he can show the photo of the building where the container with the radioactive substance has been found. As to the old story, the consignments of the uranium stolen from SPTI were later arrested by the Georgian special services, the expert underlined. One of the couriers, refugee Zurab Gurgulia was arrested in 1998 and confessed that the uranium was delivered to him by Commander of one of the Abkhaz troops Valmer Butba.
Neither that time, nor this time Russia showed off the fact of uranium disappearance and recovering, which means that it is not interested in punishing the criminals. "It means the Russian special services are steeped in corruption", - Kiknadze sums up. According to the suppositions made by the Georgian experts, Russia is transporting uranium to the neighboring countries of Georgia.
All these discussions are presented by the experts on the pro-governmental channels, such as Imedi, which has already distinguished itself by its "honesty" and "competence" and has shocked the society with the staged pseudo-chronicle of a Russian intrusion.
As to the informational "reasons", they are provided by the Georgian president who keeps repeating his accusations of uranium trafficking again and again. This time, it was said specially for Associated Press that Russia is inviting unstableness, so long as the nuclear materials are supplied to Georgia "mainly from Russia" and because "the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia" has turned them into the "black holes" threatening the regional safety.
According to the experts, Georgia has installed the radioactive substances detecting equipment sponsored by the USA at 38 border checkpoints.
Russian experts treat all the accusations skeptically. Head of the Analytical Directorate of the National Energy Safety Foundation Alexander Pasechnik referred to the Georgian president's attack as to "an act of sabotage".
- These are rather doubtful accusations, and the Russian MFA found it unnecessary to respond to them. I regard them to be purely populist affirmations. It is impossible to imagine that two grams of uranium were found in somebody's pocket: that is no way to transport radioactive substances and that is not enough to do something with them.
- The Georgian experts confirm that 25 grams are enough to make a bomb.
- No, that is a very small amount. Should Russia be involved in radioactive substances trafficking it would evidently do it in a different manner, not through Georgia.