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Georgian soldier killed in Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 21
A Georgian soldier fighting against pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, Giorgi Janelidze, was killed on April 19.

According to the Georgian battalion defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Janelidze fought for the Azov Battalion, an all-volunteer paramilitary militia affiliated with the Ukrainian government, and was killed in an armed attack near Shyrokyne village.

A special operation by Georgian and Ukrainian volunteers took place in order to take the fighter’s body out of the conflict zone.

It was reported that Janelidze was first wounded two days ago. Despite a doctor's advice to refrain from going out, he continued fighting against the separatists.

Along with Janelidze, another Georgian soldier, Davit Suleimanashvili, was wounded in action two days ago. Doctors said his health condition was now stable.

Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page that Janelidze “destroyed the Russian instructor, who created major problems for Georgian and Ukrainian soldiers in the region”.

Georgian officials offered condolences to Janelidze’s family, who left his wife and 15 year-old son in Georgia.

Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalaghania stated that Janelidze’s body would be moved to Kiev, where a special ceremony will be held, after which he will be transported back to Georgia.

“His body will arrive to Georgia in the first half of the week,” Jalaghania said.

Interior Minister Mindia Janelidze stated that all the expenses related to transportation or the funeral ceremony would be allocated from the budget.

There is not available a clear official information over the number of Georgians who died in Ukraine in the course of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

This is the fourth reported fatality among Georgians fighting in Ukraine – three of them were fighting on the Ukrainian side and one on the side of the Russian-backed separatists.