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The News in Brief

Monday, June 5
Russia’s Southern Military District Launches Snap Exercises

Russian troops in its three North Caucasus regions - Chechnya, Daghestan, and Krasnodar - as well as its troops stationed in Georgia’s Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia were put on alert on June 1, as part of the “combat readiness inspection” by Colonel General Alexander Dvornikov, Commander of Russia’s Southern Military District.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the snap drills involve over 6.5 thousand soldiers and about 1.5 thousand items of armament and military equipment of the motorized, tank and artillery units, as well as the naval infantry of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla.

As part of the drills, the troops will march for over one thousand kilometers to unfamiliar locations, where they will practice conducting combat operations, the Ministry said.

“Combat readiness inspection in an important form of examining the state of affairs in the armed forces,” the statement reads. In 2017, the Southern Military District conducted more than 40 combat readiness checks of its units, it also added.

Also on June 1, the Russian military bases in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia opened their summer training period, the Russian Defense Ministry reported in its separate press releases.

In Tskhinvali, the military equipment, including T-90 tank, BMP-3 infantry combat vehicles and self-propelled howitzer “Akatsiya,” were presented at the opening ceremony. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than one thousand items of military equipment, including armor, have been prepared for their exploitation for the summer training period.

During the opening ceremony in Abkhazia, deputy commander of the South Military District forces Lieutenant General Alexander Romanchuk said that the summer training period would include “over 100 tactical, special tactical and command staff exercises in the field, more than 500 practical drills.”

The number of hours of combat training in the field will be increased by 50 percent, with each mechanized unit serviceman spending over 2.5 months in the field.

President ready to provide Afgan Mukhtarli’s spouse and children citizenship of Georgia

“The President has accepted the initiative of the Prime Minister. We believe this is the right course of action,” the head of the Presidential Administration Giorgi Abashishvili has said.

He has responded to the Prime Minister’s special statement asking the President to grant Azeri journalist Afgan Mukhtarli’s wife and children citizenship of Georgia.

According to him, if the family wants to remain in the country, the President will provide them with Georgia’s citizenship.

“On the President’s order, I will contact with the journalist’s family tomorrow and start the relevant procedures in case they want Georgian citizenship. As an exception, the President will provide them with Georgian citizenship very shortly,” he said.

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili has recently released a special statement regarding Afgan Mukhtarli’s case, asking President Margvelashvili to quickly grant Mukhtarli’s wife and children Georgia’s citizenship.

“I would like to make a statement concerning the situation created in relation to Azerbaijani citizen Afgan Mukhtarli case and first of all say that it harms the image of the country, which is absolutely unacceptable. For me, as the head of the government, it is the main task to respond to all the questions over the case as soon as possible. An investigation has been launched, and our state is interested in conducting the process transparently. Therefore the law enforcers are intensively communicating with international organizations, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps, expressing full readiness for open cooperation.

“We have come along a difficult path, and today we are a fair, democratic country aspiring towards membership in European and Euro-Atlantic structures, sharing their values, recognizing the rule of law and protecting human rights. We will do our best to provide full protection of human rights in our country, no matter their citizenship and political viewpoints. I would also like to show readiness from the side of the Georgian government and the Justice Ministry will provide Azerbaijani citizen Afgan Mukhtarli’s wife and children with all assistance shortly. I would also like to ask the Georgian President to make an exception due to the current situation and grant Mukhtarli’s spouse and children Georgia’s citizenship as quickly as possible,” the special statement reads.