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The News in Brief

Monday, June 23
South Ossetia Recognizes 'Lugnsk People's Republic'

Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, itself almost wholly unrecognized as an independent state, has announced its recognition of the "Lugnsk People's Republic" as a sovereign, independent country.

South Ossetia - which is recognized as independent only by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru - said its leader, Leonid Tibilov, signed a decree on June 18 following an appeal from the so-called Supreme Council of the Luhansk People's Republic.

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk and Donetsk provinces seized local administrative buildings in April and proclaimed "people's republics."

Russia has not recognized the self-proclaimed entities.

The Ukrainian government considers the pro-Russian rebels to be "terrorists" and has been conducting a military offensive to root out the insurgents for the past few weeks.

South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, were recognized as independent by Russia after the brief Russia-Georgia war in 2008.

Georgian forces make positive impact in African mission

The Georgian Armed Forces serving in a mission in Central Africa are having a vital impact on the outcome of the European Union (EU) led mission.

The French Ministry of Defence released information about the role Georgian military had on the mission in the Central African Republic.

The Statement read European soldiers had taken over the French Sangaris Forces on June 14 to provide security of the population in the Capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui.

"This transfer of responsibility to the EU forces was made possible thanks to the arrival of a Georgian contingent in the mission,” read the news.

Together with Estonian and Latvian detachments, Georgian forces have taken over a very difficult area, where Sangaris Forces have been operating since December 5, 2013.

Today, 700 men make up the EU mission from several nations including France, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania. Currently, France has contributed about 250 men to the mission while the Georgian delegation consisted of 150 soldiers.

In February 2014, the EU asked the Georgian Government to contribute to the African mission. The request was confirmed in a letter sent by Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze.

The Government discussed the issue and decided Georgia would support and contribute to the mission.

Georgian officials said it would be "a useful experience” for Georgian troops to participate in the EU mission.

This is the first time Georgia contributes to an EU Security and Defence Mission and its first operation in Africa.

UNM Activist Attacked in Batumi

An activist from the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party in Batumi was attacked on June 21.

Levan Tetemadze, who was attacked and beaten by unknown men in the center of Batumi, was hospitalized with injuries to his face and head.

In a separate incident, an activist from Free Zone, a group affiliated with UNM party, said he was attacked late on June 19 in the town of Zugdidi in Samegrelo region. Levan Toria, who had bloodstains on his face, told journalists at the scene of the incident that he was attacked by a group of Georgian Dream activists when he was on his way back to home. He specifically pointed the finger at an activist from GD’s youth movement in Zugdidi; the latter denied any involvement. The police are investigating both of these cases.

MIA releases statement on special operation carried out in Gori

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has released a statement on the special operation carried out in Gori.

“The officers of Shida Kartli main division of Central Criminal Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a result of searching and investigative activities have detained six persons. They are accused of membership of the “criminal world”. These persons are: previously convicted Giorgi M. (DoB 1990); previously convicted Gogi K. (DoB 1964); previously convicted Koba G. (DoB 1972); Nikoloz M. (DoB 1986); previously convicted Ramaz D. (DoB 1986) and previously convicted Otar J. (DoB 1988).

Police officers seized from the house of Giorgi M. automatic weapon and 30 bullets while from the house of Gogi K. “Makarov” type pistol with 8 bullets, “Winchester” with 26 bullets and 10 000 USD. Police officers seized from the house of Koba G. “Makarov” type pistol, 8 bullets and 1 hand grenade, as well as from the house of Nikoloz M. were seized notebook s.c “leather” and 12, 260 Gel of s.c “joint” while from the house of Otar J. notebook s.c “leather” and 210 Gel of s.c “joint” were seized”, says the statement of the Interior Ministry.

We remind you that the Interior Ministry carried out the special operation in Gori on Saturday.

Tbilisi not considering restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia

Georgian government does not intend to restore diplomatic relations with Russia as long as the country's territories remain occupied, according to Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze.

Panjikidze made the remarks at a press briefing held on Friday, June 20, commenting on the statement earlier made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin who said that Georgia should take the first steps for resumption of diplomatic relations.

Georgian FM also stressed that at this stage, this issue is not being discussed in any international negotiation format.

"Georgia cannot take steps towards the restoration of diplomatic relations as long as 20 percent of the country's territories remain occupied," Panjikidze stressed.

"Russia established diplomatic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and do not recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. The restoration of diplomatic relations can be talked about only after Russia withdraws its decision to recognize the independence of Georgian territories," Panjikidze stressed.

Large scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.

Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.

In response, Tbilisi suspended diplomatic relations with Moscow and called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories.