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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 1

Don Cossacks would fight alongside Abkhaz forces if fighting breaks out

If Georgia undertakes military action against the breakaway region of Abkhazia, the Don Cossacks will fight on the Abkhaz side, Supreme Ataman of Cossack Forces Victor Vodolatskiy said at a press conference yesterday.

“As a Chief of Don Cossacks I have no right to forbid anyone to do something. I can’t ask Cossacks not to go to Abkhazia, because they will go there anyway, just like it happened years ago, when Cossacks defended independence of Abkhazia together with Abkhaz people,” Vodolatskiy said. (Black Sea Press)

Georgian Sports and Glory Museum plundered

The Georgian Museum of Sports and Glory in Tbilisi center has been burgled. The thieves took medals and trophies won at Olympic and World Championships, the television station Rustavi 2 reported.

The museum was set up in 1965 and has been based at the Sports Department of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport since 2005. (Black Sea Press)

Tbilisi airport to host biggest plane yet

The biggest plane yet to land at Tbilisi International Airport will touch down in two weeks, representatives of Georgian National Airlines said at a press conference yesterday.

The 170-seat McDonnell Douglas MD-82—which the airline has leased for one year at a cost of USD 8 million—will make its first Tbilisi–Moscow flight on May 16.

“As the company’s name is the Georgian National Airlines we think that all social levels should have opportunity to travel easily, cheaply and comfortably,” company spokesman Jilda Machavariani said yesterday.

Georgian National Airlines president Giorgi Kodua said the company offers affordable flights.

“The return ticket price to Moscow will be EUR 220, to Kiev and Istanbul, EUR 200,” Kodua said at the press conference.

The airline’s top competitors, including Airzena, Aeroflot and Sibir Airlines, charge EUR 327, EUR 305 and EUR 264 respectively for Tbilisi–Moscow return tickets. (Diana Dundua)

CEC registers CIS election observer mission

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered a Commonwealth of Independent States observer mission to help monitor the May 21 parliamentary elections.

A monitoring mission from Ukraine and four domestic missions have also registered with the CEC.

Foreign observer missions must register by May 14, domestic missions by May 11. (Black Sea Press)

OSCE headquarters discuss drone incident

Yesterday two meetings were held at OSCE headquarters in Vienna on the recent downing of a Georgian surveillance drone in the breakaway enclave of Abkhazia.

Georgian Ambassador to the OSCE Victor Dolidze said the OSCE permanent council was due to consider inviting experts to investigate the drone incident, which occurred on April 20.

“The truth is what we want. We do not demand anything revolutionary or extraordinary. We insist on an unbiased investigation involving foreign experts. Let’s see what Russia’s reaction will be…I do not believe their position will constructive,” Dolidze said.

Georgia claims a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet shot down its surveillance drone while separatist authorities and Russia say it was downed by Abkhaz forces. (Black Sea Press)