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Georgian soldier killed in Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 20
Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 37, from the Georgian town of Khashuri, was killed and three more were wounded following the shelling between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists near Donetsk Airport, eastern Ukraine on January 17. Information concerning the issue was provided by Georgian soldiers who voluntarily fight alongside the Ukrainian troops against Russia.

Sukhiashvili’s family members said the soldier had been serving in Georgia’s Armed Forces until 2012. He fought in the Russia-Georgia War in August 2008, and had participated in peace missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had a wife and two children.

Sukhiahsvili’s mother Lali Suthiashvili claims that her son voluntarily quit his job with a special unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) three months ago and left for Ukraine.

“Of course, I tried to stop him, but he was always distinguished for his patriotism. He told me that his friends and colleagues were fighting in Ukraine and he should have gone there,” she said and dismissed suggestions that her son had set off to Ukraine for financial interests.

Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili wrote a post in his Facebook page, where he stressed that Sukhiashvili died bravely during the vitally important fight for Ukraine.

“Shikhiashvili and his unit managed to defeat Russians and through the fight, Ukraine held on to control of the Donetsk Airport,” Saakashvili said and offered condolences to the soldier’s family.

Sukhiashvili’s transportation to Georgia will be resolved in the coming days.

“We have not received any official notification regarding the soldier’s death from Ukraine’s authorities. As soon as we obtain the official documents, the transport procures will begin,” he said.

This is the third reported fatality among Georgians fighting in Ukraine.

Aleksandre Grigolashvili, who fought on the Ukrainian side, was killed in combat in the town of Shchastya in the Luhansk region in December, 2014.