GEORGIA PROPOSES THAT REBEL FIELD COMMANDER LEAVE COUNTRY.
Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 35
On September 28, the official Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that the Georgian authorities had proposed to major Chechen field commander Ruslan (Khamzat) Gelaev that he leave Georgia, together with his fighters. “According to some reports,” Itar-Tass continued, “U.S. representatives visited Georgia in mid-September and shortly afterwards Gelaev was called to Tbilisi where he was told about the impossibility of his further stay in the country” (Itar-Tass, September 28). President Putin’s official spokesman for issues relating to Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, remarked on the same day that, if this information is confirmed, “it will represent a real contribution to the struggle with terrorism.” Yastrzhembsky also noted that the Georgian ambassador to Russia had announced that the Georgian authorities intend to extradite thirteen Chechen separatist fighters who are presently in the hands of Georgian law enforcement organs (RIA Novosti, September 28).