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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, January 18
Ramaz Sakvarelidze: relations between Georgia and Ukraine will be strained

Rezonansi writes that political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze thinks that if Viktor Yanukovich wins Ukraine’s Presidential elections relations between Georgia and Ukraine will worsen. He says that the fuss about the Georgian observers is only the beginning.

“The elections will be very hot. I think current President Yushchenko has no chance. The two major candidates are Tymoshenko and Yanukovich and the latter will win, as Tymoshenko is a pragmatist and it does not make any difference to her what kind of orientation the country has,” Sakvarelidze says.

“A runoff election is unlikely, and Yushchenko will not be able to come out into the streets with a large number of supporters. Relations between our country and Ukraine will complicate,” Sakvarelidze concluded.

Has Baltika bought the Akhalgori Lomisi factory?

Versia reports that the Lomisi brewery, located is the now occupied territory of Akhalgori, has probably been bought by Russian company Baltika but the Baltika management has denied this.

The separatist authorities have stated that the Director of Lomisi is now an Ossetian called Gochiev but Baltika says that maybe the Lomisi factory has been bought by the Vladikavkaz-based Baltika not the Russian company.

The Vladikavkaz Baltika mainly produces vodka and is not connected with Russian brewery Baltika.

11 Georgian captives, including a soldier, are still in Tskhinvali prison

According to official data 11 Georgian captives are still imprisoned in Tskhinvali. Zviad Kobaladze, cousin of General Koba Kobaladze, who arrived in the gorge three days after the start of the hostilities, is one of them, writes Rezonansi. The Georgian Government had not commented on this, but expert on Caucasus issues Mamuka Areshidze has confirmed that Kobaladze is in the Tskhinvali prison.

Zviad Kobaladze's uncle, Tengiz Kobaladze, has said he served initially in the Gori military unit and later in a peacekeeping unit. "He was detained in Avnevi and mercilessly tortured. He has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Ossetian side for fighting against Ossetia,” Tengiz Kobaladze told the correspondent of the publication.

”Kobaladze was detained three days after the hostilities began. He was on the list of those lost in the war. I know nothing about any other military captives and I suppose there aren't any. As for their state of health, I have been informed that they are now being normally treated by the Ossetian side, although various methods of torture were used at earlier stages,” Mamuka Areshidze told the correspondent of the publication.

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Analytical Department Shota Utiashvili has different information. He states that there are Georgian civilian captives in Tskhnivali prisons but no military ones. Georgia and international organisations are negotiating about this with the Ossetian side. Shota Utiashvili has confirmed that there are Ossetian captives in Georgian prisons, sentenced for murder, planning terrorist acts etc. He added that the Georgian side is concealing no one.

”There are different categories of prisoners in Georgia. Some were sentenced for marauding in the conflict zone and some for transgressing the(administrative) borders, like the Georgian prisoners have been. But there are some missing people who are not in Georgian prisons and I suppose they are no longer alive. However, Georgia does not compile lists of captives and lost as the Ossetians do,” Mamuka Areshidze told the newspaper.

"The issue should be addressed as a gesture to the international community and international law. The crimes the captives have been convicted of should be specified publicly and we should demand that our lost soldiers as well as our captives be returned,” Mamuka Areshidze added.