Reports from Georgia about infiltration of an armed group into Georgia from Russia’s Republic of Dagestan “are provocative” and groundless, RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting Vadim Shibayev, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is in charge of border guards.
“The border guard service has not observed cases of trespassing of the Dagestan section of the Russian-Georgian border,” Shibayev said.
“Unfortunately, it is not the first time when the Georgian side is reporting about the incidents on the Russian-Georgian border, but not a single one has been confirmed,” he said without specifying previous cases of reports on border incidents.
This report comes into conflict with an earlier report by the same news agency in which RIA Novosti quoted unnamed “source from Dagestan’s law enforcement agencies” according to which the armed group infiltrated into Georgia from Dagestan. According to this source insurgents, who clashed with the Georgian troops, were from Dagestan’s Tsuntinsky District, which borders with Georgia.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said that an armed group, which it described as “squad of saboteurs”, took in hostage several people in an area close to the Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border. Interior Ministry officials said that operation was underway during last three days to secure release of the hostages which led to an armed clash on August 29 in which three Georgian servicemen and eleven “saboteurs” were killed. All the hostages were released, deputy interior minister said.
There is no word in those few brief statements, which the Interior Ministry has released so far, who the members of this “squad of saboteurs” are or whether they infiltrated into Georgia from Russia or not. Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV, two Georgian nationwide broadcasters close to the government, however, said in their reports that the armed group apparently came in from Dagestan.
Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze declined to respond when asked by journalists who were the members of armed group and said it was the competence of the Interior Ministry to comment on this issue. Bakradze, however, said that members of the armed group “are not citizens of Georgia.”