Police arrested Georgian national and alleged assassin for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Temur Makhauri, better known as Zona, in Kiev on 16 January, Ukrainian media reports. Although originally from Chechnya, Makhauri held a Georgian passport and was driving a car with Georgian plates when he was detained.
Several other people were in the car with Makhauri, but police have not released details of their identities. Police seized several weapons during the search.
Zona, also known as Ruslan Papaskiri and Ali Dubayev, was arrested in Turkey in 2012, accused of murdering Musa Atayev, a representative, of the militant jihadist organisation the Caucasus Emirate.
According to Turkish media, Makhauri’s role as an assassin for FSB was revealed during the trial. Turkish media also reported that Makhauri had cooperated with the Georgian intelligence services as well.
Makhauri is believed to have been involved in several high profile cases, including the notorious 2012 Lopota Incident in Georgia, in which 14 people were killed, including 3 Georgian special service personnel and 11 alleged rebels. He has also been connected to the murders of Chechen mufti Shamsudin Batukaev, former head of Chechnya’s Sharia Court on 10 October 2011, and of Ali Osayev, a representative of the Caucasus Emirate, in 2009.
The Kakheti Information Centre writes that Makhauri has also been connected to an explosion on Tbilisi’s Vazha Pshavela Street on the night of 7 March 2010. One account of the explosion states that the goal was to liquidate Makhauri.
One nearby resident claimed to have seen Makhauri enter the building a few seconds prior to the explosion. Neighbours assumed that the explosive device was detonated remotely. Makhauri was subsequently rushed to hospital, sustaining only light injuries.
After being released by Turkish courts in 2015, Makhauri moved to Ukraine, working in one of the country’s anti-terrorist groups.