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Russian Ambassador Comments on ‘Spy’ Row
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Sep.'06 / 12:21

Russia’s Ambassador to Georgia Viacheslav Kovalenko said on September 29 that evidence put forth by the Georgian law enforcers  against four Russian military officers suspected in spying is fabricated, and he demanded Georgia “to immediately release” and apologize for the “groundless arrests” of the Russian officers.

“Actions against the Russian military officers have significantly complicated Russian-Georgian relations. Of course Russia will not leave this issue without a response,” he told reporters on September 29.

He said that he “could not understand anything” from the video and audio recordings that were unveiled by the Georgian Interior Ministry to prove the involvement of four Russian officers and eleven Georgian citizens in espionage against Georgia.

“Very strange materials. I could not understand anything from them. I am sure this is not evidence. These are some kind of edited recordings from which it is impossible to understand anything. Our attorney will deal with this… I am sure there is no fact or evidence proving the allegations brought against our officers,” Kovalenko said.

Russia recalled its Ambassador from Georgia on September 28 and also announced a “partial evacuation” of its citizens from Georgia.

Ambassador Kovalenko said that his return to Georgia depends on the Georgian side’s further actions.

On a question when he plans to return to Georgia, the Russian Ambassador responded: “It depends on the Georgian side… Ask [Georgian Interior Minister Vano] Merabishvili this question.”

He said that his major assignment in Georgia was “to develop friendly relations with Tbilisi, but this mission seems impossible because of the Georgian side’s actions.”

“First of all Georgia should immediately release the Russian officers and Georgia should apologize for groundless arrest of the Russian officers,” Kovalenko said.

He also said that over 100 employees of the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi are leaving for Russia on September 29.

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