The messenger logo

Georgian Vice-Colonel asks for political asylum in Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, February 3
Georgian Vice-Colonel Gia Tsertsvadze, who has just been released from detention in Ukraine, has requested political asylum in Ukraine for him and his family, as he believes they are at risk from Russia and cannot trust the Georgian government.

Tsertsvadze, who was detained by Ukrainian law enforcers as soon as he left Georgia and arrived in the country because Interpol issued an arrest warrant for him for an alleged murder committed in Russia in 2003. Tsertsvadze says he was not warned by Georgian law enforcers that he was on the Interpol list.

Tsertsvadze denies any links with the murder he is accused of by the Russians, and says Russia only wants him as he fought in the Russia-Georgia war and in Ukraine against Russians.

He says Russia also wants some confidential information about Georgia’s security; he claims they hope to find intelligence from the detention of people who have served in the Georgian Armed Forces.

Tsertsvadze does not doubt Georgia sent his personal data to Russia, as without such information it would be hard for Russia to address Interpol to put him in the wanted list.

The Vice-Colonel claims he cannot rely on the government of Georgia, and also cannot leave his family in the country.

He says his family members were have been under psychological pressure by people in Gori, who were telling them all those Georgian soldiers who fought in Ukraine were “hired killers” and were involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict only because of money.

The government of Georgia has stated they have done their utmost to released Tsertsvadze and dismissed speculation over handing the soldier’s personal data to the Russian Federation.

Senior Georgian law enforcement officials have refrained from making clear comments on Tsertsvadze’s case.

Only Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili made a brief comment, saying that it was in Tsertsvadze’s interest for Georgian law enforcement bodies to say nothing about the case.

The officials also said he was surprised by some people who made comments against the state bodies while they knew the reason of the MIA’s silence.

Khutsishvili said the state structures may unveil the reasons within a special format or make public statements in the future.

The United National Movement and the Movement for Freedom-European Georgia opposition parties continue to accuse the Georgian Dream government of sending Georgian soldiers’ personal information to Russia.

The Appeals Court of Kyiv postponed the hearing of Tsertsvadze’s case for February 3, and left him in pre-trial detention on Thursday. However, due to the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office, Tsertvadze was released several hours later.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko announced Tsertsvade’s release on his official Facebook page.

“As promised, Tsertsvadze is free. Ukraine does not betray its people, including Georgians,” Lutsenko’s post reads.

While leaving the pre-trial detention facility, Tsertsvadze thanked everyone who was demanding his freedom.

Tsertsvadze fought for Georgia in Abkhazia and in the August Russia-Georgia war of 2008. He also fought against Russia in Ukraine’s Donbas region.