Three Georgian policemen, accompanying a convoy carrying Dimitri Sanakoev, the head of the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian provisional administration, were injured in an attack on July 3, Georgian officials said.
The policemen were injured after their vehicle apparently hit a remote controlled mine in the South Ossetian conflict zone, the South Ossetian provisional administration said. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gun fire between Sanakoev’s security and attackers, it said.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said that the attack took place at 10:00am local time.
Sanakoev, who was in another vehicle en route from his headquarters in the village of Kurta to Batumi, was not injured, although his car was damaged, the Interior Ministry said.
The convoy was attacked on a road by-passing Tskhinvali and linking the Georgian-controlled villages to the north of Tskhinvali with the rest of Georgia. Officials said the gun fire that followed the explosion came from an area close to the South Ossetian-controlled villages of Kokhati and Sarabuki.
The provisional administration described the attack as “an assassination attempt on Dimitri Sanakoev.”
Sanakoev's administration has been denounced by the secessionist authorities in Tskhinvali as Tbilisi’s “puppet government.”
Irina Gagloeva, a spokesperson for the authorities in the breakaway region, told Rustavi 2 TV via phone that the South Ossetian side had nothing to do with the attack.
The attack came a few hours after a blast in the secessionist-controlled South Ossetian village of Dmenisi, which killed local police chief Nodar Bibilov close to his own home.
The breakaway region’s authorities said it was “a terrorist act” carried out by the Georgian secret services. The breakaway region’s Press and Information Committee said that Bibilov had also been targeted in February. He sustained slight injuries in a blast, also in Dmenisi, four months ago.