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The News in Brief

Friday, February 26
Two residents of Kirbali village detained by Tskhinvali regime

Beka and Vazha Takadzes, residents of the village of Kirbali in the Gori region, have been detained by the Tskhinvali regime, Interpressnews was told by head of the Shida Kartli regional administration Vladimer Jugheli.

"Nothing is known about them. The Ossetian side refrains from contacting us about this," Jugheli noted.

18-year-old Beka and 24-year-old Vazha Takadzes were detained by Russian occupiers about three days ago. They went hunting on 22 February and did not return. They are presumed to be in the Tsinagara militia headquarters and have been accused of crossing the so-called South Ossetian border. (Interpressnews)

Stop Russia youth rallies at Enguri Bridge

Members of the Coalition for Justice and some students have organised an event dedicated to the 89th anniversary of Georgia's tragic occupation by Russia. The members of the movement assembled in the centre of Zugdidi holding banners saying Stop Russia. They then marched to the Enguri Bridge, which is on the boundary with occupied Abkhazia, and held a protest there. Young people from the other side of the boundary joined them. (Rustavi 2)

Thomas Hammarberg to pay three-day visit to Georgia

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, will pay a three-day visit to Georgia. Internet site Kavkazsky Uzel states that Hammarberg’s visit will begin today.

Hammarberg will meet representatives of the Government of Georgia and partner international organisations. He will also visit Tskhinvali.

Hammarberg’s aim is to secure the release of people detained by Georgia and Ossetia and also help search for missing people. He will presumably also invite international jurists to help resolve the aforesaid problem.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it had not been informed of Hammarberg’s visit. (Interpressnews)

Valeria Novodvorskaya – I have come to give moral and political support to Georgia

Eminent human rights defenders and implacable opponents of The Kremlin Valeria Novodvorskaya and Konstantin Borovoy visited Tbilisi yesterday. Novodvorskaya told Interpressnews that they had been invited to Tbilisi by former Minister of Economy Kakha Bendukidze. They will take part in the round table to discuss the prospects of countries in the post-Soviet space and she will also deliver lectures at Tbilisi Economic School and Gori University.

"I have come to Tbilisi to give moral and political support to Georgia. I go practically nowhere, but I could not refuse to visit Tbilisi," Novodvorskaya stated, while adding that unfortunately she is neither an oligarch nor a military person and cannot give Georgia money or arms.

"I do what I can – express moral and political support for Georgia, which has chosen the West and carried out successful reforms. I’m ready to defend Georgia if necessary, to enter the Georgian Army," Valeria Novodvorskaya stated. However, she did not hide her surprise at the rash actions of the Georgian opposition. "The Georgian opposition are acting like they want to invite the Russian tanks, positioned near the capital of Georgia, to Tbilisi. The Georgian opposition must be more cautious in the existing situation and not take wild steps,’ Novodvorskaya stated. She added that the opposition will be disappointed if they think that if they overthrow Saakashvili with Russia's help Moscow will let Georgia elect a President of its own choosing.

Novodvorskaya reminds the opposition that Igor Giorgadze lives in a state-owned mansion in Moscow and the Kremlin’s long-time dream has been to make him President of Georgia. (Interpressnews)

Viktor Yanukovich inaugurated

Viktor Yanukovich, the opposition leader who won Ukraine’s recent election, has been inaugurated as the country’s new President, the BBC reports.

His main opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, says that Yanukovich won through fraud and refuses to recognise his victory. Both Tymoshenko and the outgoing President, Viktor Yushchenko, refused to attend the ceremony. However international observers have said that the election was conducted fairly.

Yanukovich swore the oath of office in Parliament in front of Deputies and visiting foreign Heads of State and representatives. There was a block of empty seats in the chamber where Deputies belonging to Tymoshenko and Yushchenko's coalition of supporters would have sat.

After taking the oath, Yanukovich acknowledged the divisions in Parliament and Ukraine’s economic difficulties but said he could lead the country out of the crisis. In his inauguration speech, Mr Yanukovich said it was important to establish a strong Parliamentary majority.

According to a UNIAN correspondent Yanukovich took the oath, signed the text of the oath and passed it to Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Andriy Stryzhak, who declared that the newly elected President had taken the oath and had therefore taken up the post of President of Ukraine.

All members of Ukraine’s Government were invited to the inauguration ceremony. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko stated that Foreign Ministers of 15 countries and Chairpersons of four Parliaments were visiting Ukraine. Chair of the Parliament of Georgia Davit Bakradze and Vice-speaker Mikheil Machavariani attended the inauguration. (Interpressnews)