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MIA Unveils ‘Part of Evidence’ against ‘Spy Ring’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Sep.'06 / 16:58

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs unveiled audio and video recordings on September 28 that, according to the Minister Vano Merabishvili, "obviously prove" that four Russian officers and eleven Georgian citizens arrested on September 27 were engaged in espionage against Georgia.

Some of the video clips show Russian officers meeting with Georgian citizens who were arrested on September 27.

The unveiled materials also include a tapped phone conversation between two men. The Georgian Interior Ministry identifies one of them as Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Konstantin Pichugin, who is currently wanted by the Georgian law enforcers, and the second one was identified as Artashes Baloyan, allegedly a local Russian intelligence operative. In the conversation a man named as Baloyan tells Pichugin about the Georgian army’s storehouse in the village of Tamarisi which is in the Marneuli district. The conversation took place in late August, according to the Interior Ministry.

In another taped phone conversation a man, identified by the Interior Ministry as GRU colonel Alexander Sava, tells another man, identified by the Interior Ministry as local operative Gia Kakauridze, to visit “an area” in the Kakheti region. The Interior Ministry said that “area” refers to a place of deployment of the MoD’s first infantry brigade. The conversation took place in July, according to the Interior Ministry.

“This is only one part of the evidence, which obviously proves the criminal activities of the GRU [the Russian military intelligence] in Georgia,” Merabishvili said.

“Evidence available to us proves that GRU officers had a spy ring here in Georgia… Local operatives were instructed to obtain secret information and documentation… We will provide more evidence later,” Merabishvili said.

The recordings that have been released so far are available at the Interior Ministry’s official web-site – www.police.ge

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