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Soldiers parents accuse Defence Ministry of negligence

By Mariam Chanishvili
Thursday, August 18
The Government of Georgia requested that U.S. forces assigned to the Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) assist in the search and rescue efforts for two Georgian soldiers who went missing in the Black Sea off the coast of Georgia.

Two Georgian soldiers of the Special Operation Forces – Corporal Iago Sharadze and Private Giorgi Nanetashvili - underwent military diving training in Gonio.

The training was part of the framework of the scheduled maritime special course in the Black Sea. During the training exercise, after diving deep into the sea, Giorgi Nanetashvili and Iago Sharadze could not ascend back to the surface. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

A search and rescue operation of the soldiers is still being carried out by the Black Sea's Operative Provision and Monitoring and Investigation Main Divisions of Military Police Department and a local unit of the Special Operation Forces as well.

The Georgian Defence Minister has personal control of the operation.

According to the statement of the Defence Ministry of Georgia, the Military Police Department has already launched an investigation under Part II, Article 116 of the Georgian Criminal Code with the agreement of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The parents of the soldiers are accusing the Ministry of Defence of negligence.

Iago Sharadze’s father stated that his son was a good swimmer but the case is the result of negligence.

He accused the Defence Ministry of inobservance of security measures. The parents say that the recent 4-5 degree storm in Batumi had to be considered before planning the training.

“They were not professional divers; they had just started to be trained. They were diving 30 meters deep and had no boat or anything for their safety,” said Iago’s father.