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Georgia ‘seizes Ukrainian explosives bound for Russia’

5 February 2024
CCTV footage shared by the SSG reportedly showing explosives being brought into Batumi.

Georgia’s State Security Service (SSG) has claimed to have seized 14 kilogrammes of explosives being transported by a group of Ukrainians, Georgians, and Armenians through Georgia to Russia.

On Monday, the director of the SSG’s counter-terrorism department, Bacha Mgeladze, stated the explosives were brought to Georgia on 19 January from the Ukrainian city of Odesa via Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

Mgeladze said they had identified seven Georgian nationals, three Ukrainians, and two Armenians suspected of being involved. He accused Andrei Sharashidze, a Georgian–Ukrainian who ran for  Odesa’s regional council in 2020 as the candidate of the ruling Servant of the People party, of organising the plot.

‘The investigation also determined that the above-mentioned people, except for Sharashidze, probably did not know about the explosive devices’, Mgeladze said.

He added that the explosives were bound for Voronezh in southwestern Russia.

Mgeladze stated that the Georgian authorities had confiscated C-4, military-grade explosives, that could have caused ‘significant damage to infrastructure and large-scale casualties’.

Following the briefing, the SSG screened an almost three-minute-long compilation of CCTV footage allegedly showing how the explosives were transported inside Georgia.

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The footage from Batumi shows at least two different unidentified individuals moving several white boxes and a black bag from a minivan to a sedan. Another set of videos shows two other men carrying similar white boxes on the street before placing them in another vehicle.

Detonators were allegedly discovered hidden in car batteries.

The SSG claimed that explosive devices were smuggled into Georgia in a minivan owned by a Ukrainian citizen, and that three of the devices were bound for Voronezh through the Dariali checkpoint in Northern Georgia, while another three devices had been left in Tbilisi. The SSG stated that they did not know why some of the explosives were left in Georgia.

Mgeladze said that the authorities in Georgia were worried that they would be ‘blamed for both the planning and implementation’ of a potential terrorist attack in Russia due to the involvement of Georgian nationals in the operation.

The SSG did not announce if any arrests had been made.

Ukraine has yet to issue a statement.