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Interior Minister says he thinks fires are deliberate

By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 1
Georgia’s Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili says that it is his personal view that large-scale fires in different locations in Georgia could be deliberately caused.

“But there may also be other factors,” the Minister said..

“An investigation is underway and all eventualities are being considered. All the public’s questions will be answered,” Mgebrishvili told the local media.

A former official under the United National Movement leadership and now the Vice President of Georgia’s Atlantic Council, Batu Kutelia, claims if a deliberate possibility is considered concerning the fires, Russia is to be the “number one suspect”.

He stressed he did not rule out such a possibility, saying Russia is eager to see Georgia collapse.

“Russia is the only one that may want to do this to Georgia. It also represents the main threat for Georgia together with the hybrid threats that may be caused by it,” Kutelia said.

It is already about two weeks that Georgia has been fighting fires at sites which are generally very attractive for local and foreign visitors.

There are no exact calculations of the losses; however, as tens of hectares of forestry areas have been burnt, the damage to the natural landscape is extensive.

Many in the country are shocked by the fires and emergence of new blazes day after day.

There are several main theories of the reason behind the fires circulating on social media.

Many social network users believe that the fires are being caused by Russia.

There are many as well who think that people, local officials among them, who wish to hide illegal lumberjack activities, are causing the fires.

The number of those people who believed that the fires were because of the indifference of visitors has decreased since the fires broke out at six different locations within several days.

A relatively small number of Facebook users say some from the neighboring countries could stand behind the fires in order to lower Georgia’s tourism potential.

Such frequent fires in Georgia have never been reported, and the breakout of new fires almost every second day causes speculation that they could be deliberately caused.

It is of the utmost interest and importance whether Georgian law-enforcers manage to establish the truth over the alleged crime.

The response to such a crime, if confirmed, must be extremely strict.