Δευτέρα, 24 Νοεμβρίου 2008

Russian official says Turkish, U.S. mercenaries fought for Georgia

Russian official says Turkish, U.S. mercenaries fought for Georgia
Russia has evidence that citizens from NATO member states including the United States and Turkey fought for Georgia in the five-day August conflict in the Caucasus, Russia's top investigator said on Monday. Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Prosecutor-General's investigative committee, said he believed that foreign fighters from Turkey, the United States, Czech Republic, Chechnya, the Baltic States and Ukraine fought against Russia. "It was a fairly small number of people. They mainly fulfilled support roles", Bastrykin was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters in Russia's second city of St Petersburg.A senior security official in Tbilisi dismissed the statement and said by law only Georgian nationals could serve in the country's armed forces.Bastrykin said some had conducted training for the Georgian armed forces. "There were also two snipers ... one from Ukraine and I believe a Latvian woman," he said.He said he considered the presence of foreign fighters a criminal offence and said he would bring it up at a meeting with representatives of Interpol.Russia and Georgia had engaged in a bloody conflict in August after Georgian forces tried to retake South Ossetia, a Moscow-backed separatist region that rejects Tbilisi's rule.Russia recognized the two regions as independent states in the aftermath of August's conflict, drawing condemnation from Western states who said it was violating Georgia's sovereignty."It's really difficult to make comments on such absurd statements," Kakha Lomaia, the Secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, said, as he responded to Bastrykin's allegation."There are only Georgian citizens in the Georgian army as it's a legal requirement," he was quoted by Reuters as saying."The statement that almost half of the world was fighting in our army in August is just a fantasy of those in the Russian leadership who would like to justify killings of the peaceful population," he added.

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