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Majority views Georgian soldier killed in Ukraine as hero

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 21
The Georgian soldier Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 37, who was killed in Ukraine on January 17 will be transported to Georgia today. The health conditions of three more Georgians who were wounded near Donetsk Airport fighting Russian-backed rebels together with the late Sukhiashvili are stable.

Member of the Georgian Dream coalition Ani Mirotadze offered her condolences to the soldier’s family and stressed that he was a hero.

“It was a heroic devoutness, it cannot have some other explanation,” the MP said.

She also commented on the speculation that the former government members of Georgia urge Georgian soldiers to fight in Ukraine and offer them money instead.

“If they (former gov’t members) are really engaged with the activity, they must think about the consequences and be cautious,” Mirotadze said.

Meanwhile, the UNM members are accusing the current government in spreading rumors.

“It’s shameful when the government speculates with such rumors when three Georgian soldiers have died in Ukraine,” UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili said.

According to Free Democrats Viktor Dolidze, the fate of Georgian soldiers fighting in Ukraine will be discussed at an MP meetings with their Ukrainian counterparts these days.

“I believe that the soldiers serve Georgian, not the UNM interests,” Dolidze said.

Georgian soldier Mamuka Mamulashvili had previously stated that Georgian soldiers are not provided with any financial support in Ukraine.

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.

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.

Sukhiashvili had a wife and two children.

The exact number of Georgians fighting in Ukraine is unknown. Based on the recent amendments initiated by the Ministry of Justice, joining illegal military groups abroad is punishable and envisages imprisonment of 5-10 years. However, Georgians fighting in Ukraine are viewed as legal groups and the changes will not concern them.