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Georgian authorities seize explosives allegedly in transit from Ukraine to Russia

by Nate Ostiller February 5, 2024 1:13 PM 2 min read
Landscape of Tbilisi, Georgia on May 21, 2022. (Daro Sulakauri/Getty Images)
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The Georgian State Security Service said on Feb. 5 that it had seized explosives being transported from Ukraine en route to Russia for an alleged "terrorist attack" supposedly planned to take place in the Russian city of Voronezh.

The explosives were allegedly transported by van overland from Odesa. Georgia's State Security Service said that at least 12 people were involved in the transit, including seven Georgians, three Ukrainians, and two Armenians.

One of the packages with explosives was found in Tbilisi, while another was intercepted while some of the individuals were trying to cross into Russia.

The explosives in question are military-grade C4 and "were manufactured by a high-level specialist and were designed for a wide radius of damage," according Georgia's State Security Service.

Georgia's State Security Service said that Andrey Sharashidze, a Ukrainian citizen originally from Georgia and a former candidate in local elections in Odesa Oblast, allegedly masterminded the transit of the explosives.

It is possible that those transporting the explosives were not aware of the true contents of their cargo, the security service added, saying that it was possible that Sharashidze was the only one who knew.

Georgia's State Security Service did not clarify details of the supposed terrorist attacks allegedly planned to take place in Voronezh.

The crime of transporting explosives can carry a sentence of three-six years if convicted, but the potential charge of "preparation of a terrorist act" could be added later, pending the results of the investigation. Such a charge could result in 10-15 years in prison if convicted.

Georgia's government, under the ruling Georgian Dream party, has taken an inconsistent position toward Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, declining to join sanctions or other international efforts to isolate Russia.

While condemning Russia's all-out war, Georgian officials have also criticized Ukraine.

At the same time, the overwhelming majority of the Georgian population is pro-Ukraine.

The Security Service of Ukraine's office in Odesa Oblast told the Ukrainian Hromadske news outlet that it had no information about the supposed plot.

Georgians likely rank first among foreign fighters killed fighting for Ukraine
Estimates vary, but Georgian media approximates that between 50-60 Georgian soldiers have been killed fighting for Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, making it likely the highest death toll of any foreign nationality fighting on the Ukrainian side.
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