The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Friday, November 14
November 13 - Day of the 100,000 Martyrs

On November 13 the Georgian Orthodox Church commemorates the Day of the 100,000 martyrs killed by the representatives of the Khorezmi in Tbilisi. On this day Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, as is traditional, will conduct prayer near Metekhi Bridge.

Services will be held in all active churches in the country. (Black Sea Press)

Gates – Georgia’s Western aspirations do not threaten Russia’s security

Georgia’s aspiration to integrate with western structures does not threaten Russia’s security, Secretary of Defence of the USA Robert Gates maintains.

“Russia has no right to obstruct the wish of a sovereign state to integrate completely with Western structures. This does not threaten in any way Russia’s security,” Gates stated during a joint press conference on Wednesday after his meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.

The Secretary of Defence said that during the meeting the two sides also discussed Russia’s most recent actions. “We had productive discussions about our international operations, regional security and Russia’s recent actions. We also discussed Russia’s military action against Georgia this summer as well as its massive cyber attacks against Estonia in 2007,” Gates noted.

Secretary Gates will participate in the NATO-Ukraine consultations in Tallinn on November 12-13, alongside NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Giampaola Di Paola, Defence Minister of the Ukraine Yuri Yekhanurov and the heads and deputy heads various NATO defence ministries. The security of the EuroAtlantic region and the modernization of Ukrainian defence structures will be discussed. (Black Sea Press)

Civil defence in Georgia is at a low level – Ugulava

The fact that the level of civil defence in Georgia and the population’s ability to take action in extraordinary situations are low is one of the lessons of the events in August, said Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava at the sitting of the Temporary Parliamentary Commission investigating those events.

“There were moments when up to 50 planes were in Tbilisi in August. It was impossible to announce an evacuation as the movement of people would cause panic. Civil defence is at a low level and is one of our present challenges” Ugulava said. As an example of the successful resolution of this problem Ugulava cited Israel, where a system of training citizens to perform civil defence functions in extraordinary situations has been developed.

The Mayor noted that during the period when the situation aggravated and there was a possibility of unpredictable developments Tbilisi Metro could have been used as a bomb shelter – officials of the Metro were ready to stop traffic and receive people. Ugulava said that other sites could not have been used for security reasons. He said that most of the 414 bomb shelters the city had once had were no longer ready to be used for this purpose. “Regretfully, many of bomb shelters have been sold, and not only bomb shelters,” for example, a tunnel leading to the Botanic Park was also outside the city’s control s its lease has been cancelled. “Nobody could have imagined that Tbilisi would need 414 bomb shelters, neither in 1995 nor in 2006. Much must be re-estimated, much must be re evaluated from the beginning,” the Mayor acknowledged.

Ugulava said that he had personally familiarized himself with some sites which could be used as bomb shelters, “But a person cannot be in them more than 30 minutes. Much must be improved and the municipality cannot do this on its own – it is complex work,” Ugulava noted. (Black Sea Press)

Film about war in South Ossetia banned in Kiev

The Head of the Investigation Commission on the Delivery of Arms to Georgia, Deputy Valeri Konovalyuk, has said that the refusal to show Russian film “War 08.08.08 Art of Treason” in Kiev was a vivid example of ignorance of the law.

“The showing of this film was prevented by order of the Secretariat of President Yushchenko. They are simply afraid of the truth about the conflict in the Caucasus,” Konovalyuk stressed.

The security service of the Ukraine prohibited the film, referring to possible conflicts with representatives of ultranationalist youth organizations. When the organizers of the screening said they would show the film in the foyer instead, not the cinema itself, unknown persons stole the screen.

As RIA Novosti was informed by the producer of the film, Russian Federation Duma Deputy Konstantin Rikov, he did not expect such action from the Ukrainian authorities. “It is senseless, the film has been shown on TV in Russia and it has been on the internet for two weeks,” Rikov said, adding that “40% of the shot material was taken from the mobile phones of Georgian soldiers.”

The screening of the documentary film “War 08.08.08. Art of Treason” had been organized by the Investigation Commission on the Delivery of Arms to Georgia with the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The Security Council of the Ukraine has made a statement saying that the film’s material had been forged by Russian special services. (Black Sea Press)