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Krtsanisi Security staff facing investigation after fatal blast

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 13
Three persons responsible for controlling security were detained after an explosion at Krtsanisi training base on January 11, a statement regarding the issue was made by the Defense Ministry (MoD) later the same day.

Due to the explosion at the training base, 3 soldiers were killed and thirteen injured. All thirteen soldiers injured in the explosion remain under the observation of doctors. 12 of them are being treated in Gori military hospital, one - in the first clinical hospital of Tbilisi.

“According to the recent results of investigation, the accidental explosion at the National Training Center in Krtsanisi occurred due to a violation of security norms,” the statement of MoD reads. “At this stage, three persons responsible for controlling the security norms have been detained.”

At this time, Chief of the Training Course of the National Training Centre “Krtsanisi”, Chief of Assessment and Training Course of Artillery Units, Colonel Tristan Tkesheliadze, Chief of Fire Position, Colonel Mamuka Pareshishvili and Battery Commander of the 1st Artillery Brigade, 1st Lieutenant Malkhaz Kobalia were arrested.

A criminal case is being launched under the third section of Article 403 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages imprisonment from 6 to 10 years. As the Minister of Defense, Bacho Akhalaia stated, “in the event that responsibility of any military serviceman is revealed, he will be strictly punished.”

Both Government representatives and the opposition demand an urgent and transparent investigation into the incident, “Each of our citizen’s lives is valuable to us. I hope that the investigation soon reveals the details of the accident, “Parliament speaker, Davit Bakradze, said. The opposition is focusing more on what it sees as failings of the Defense Ministry, “The Ministry must answer to all questions regarding the tragedy and the society should be given full information of the investigation,” statement of Georgia’s way, reads.

According to Military analyst, Giorgi Melitauri, “it is difficult to state what caused the explosion, as the investigation is going on and I hope that the truth will be revealed. I can only assume that the explosion was caused either by technical fault or staff’s carelessness.” However he also commented on problems in the Ministry, which might be the source of different shortcomings and accidents in this field, “the fact that a large part of technical armament is defective is not our main problem; military- industrial complex and armour factory are in a very bad condition. Repair departments lack even elementary resources.” The analyst also explained the reason for such a situation in the Ministry, “The Defense Ministry has significant financing from the state budget, however it lacks professional staff. This applies to both low and higher stages of the Ministry. We had a lot of professional specialists in the field; however, at the present moment they are lost, as somebody considered them as a hangover of the former governance and dismiss them. At the present moment, leading positions of the ministry are taken mostly by less educated and unprofessional people in the military.”