"Border guards acted according to instructions" - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister on the murder of Tamaz Ginturi
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin believes that it is “incorrect” to use the word “murder” when talking about the death of Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi in the village of Kirbali in the zone of Georgian-Ossetian conflict. Galuzin said this while answering a question of the Georgian Public Broadcaster in Geneva.
According to him, Tamaz Ginturi and the kidnapped Levan Dotiashvili attacked Russian border guards and threatened them with an axe, while the border guards acted “in full compliance with the instructions”.
Galuzin believes that it is necessary to accept the geopolitical reality and remember the causes and origins of the current situation:
“How events have developed since August 2008, how the aggression of Georgia under the leadership of Saakashvili against the population of South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers began. An attack on Russian peacekeepers means an attack on Russia.”
The deputy foreign minister also argues that it is not that “someone had the aim to kill a person” but that people illegally crossed “the border of South Ossetia.”
“They were not quite in an adequate state, with the help of an axe (and this is a serious weapon) tried to enter the temple, and when they were called to order, they started threatening our border guards with this axe.
They were asked to stop such actions. Instead, they threatened the life and health of our border guards, tried to run over them, after which first a warning fire was opened in the air, as it should be, and then at the wheels of the car.”
He believes that the Georgian side should clearly explain to its own population that “it is not worthwhile to cross the border illegally”.
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The village of Kirbali is located in the zone of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict and is controlled by Russian border guards, as they see it as the state border of South Ossetia.
On October 25, 2023 information was spread that Russians entered the territory of Lomisi church located near the village and blocked the entrance to it for local residents. The head of the public relations service of the Georgian Patriarchate confirmed this information, adding that the border guards did so because “someone was waving a Georgian flag there”.
On November 6, Russian border guards killed Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi near this church
Tamaz Ginturi. Another Georgian citizen, Levan Dotiashvili, was kidnapped.
After his release, Dotiashvili said that first the Russian military fired a warning shot, after which Tamaz and Levan left the territory of the Lomisi church. They got into a car and managed to drive only a few meters when the soldier started shooting.
According to Levan Dotiashvili, after the wounded Tamaz Ginturi was pulled out of the car, seven more Russian soldiers appeared, one of whom hit Levan, forced him to lie on the ground and handcuffed him.
“I was taken away towards the forest and I never saw Tamaz again. On the way there were insults and I was beaten,” Dotiashvili said.
The Georgian government has called on the international community to condemn the killing.
President Salome Zurabishvili called the incident “a brutal attack on Georgian statehood.”
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, along with the international community, addressed Russian representatives and called for their cooperation. He said the killing once again confirms “the difficult security situation on the ground and speaks of the dire consequences of the occupation.”
Tamaz Ginturi’s family was granted the status of an injured party, and the prosecutor’s office recognized his son Dima Ginturi as the heir of the deceased.
Speaking at the 30th Plenary Session of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili called the killing of a citizen by Russian border guards another act of violence against ethnic Georgians.
Resolution of the European Parliament
On December 23 European Parliament adopted a resolution on the murder of Tamaz Ginturi, which emphasizes that all those responsible for this murder and for the kidnapping of Levan Dotiashvili should be brought to justice, including those in the highest military and political echelons of Russia and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
The resolution says that the murder of Tamaz Ginturi, as well as the past brutal murders of Georgian refugees Archil Tatunashvili, Gigi Octozoria and David Basharui and the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia at the Russian military base in Abkhazia are “a direct result of the Russian occupation of Georgian territories”.