Acting President of Georgia, Nino Burdzhanadze, announced that should Moscow recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Tbilisi would take this as a pronouncement of war. Burdzhanadze released this statement because of the resolution of the Abkhaz council of national security of the possible recognition of the sovereignty of the self-declared republic by Russia. Along with this, Burdzhanadze referred to statements of top-ranking representatives of Sukhumi about allegedly existing guarantees that “Russia will recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the next few months.”
Nobody doubts that Georgia is preparing for provocations. According to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, Yury Baluevsky, Georgia is buying armament intensively including that of American manufacture and is preparing for combat operations against Abkhazia and hence against Russia. Moscow is preparing response steps to such actions.
According to Lieutenant General Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of the group of Russian forces in Transcaucasia, Chechen battalions West and East from the 42nd mechanized infantry division are currently operating in the conflict zones in Georgia within the Russian peacekeeping forces. Netkachev says the Chechens have been sent to Abkhazia “to neutralize any hostilities that Georgia might initiate in order to disrupt the Sochi Olympics.” This is indirectly confirmed by Said-Magomed Kakiev, Hero of Russia and deputy military commandant of Chechnya. Kakiev has said recently that the West Battalion’s forces are deployed in the direction of a potential main strike from Georgia: “We will hold our ground. The Chechens are not afraid of casualties, and they are prepared to give their lives to achieve a military objective.”
Commander of battalion East of the 42nd mechanized infantry division, Hero of Russia Sulim Yamadaev, speaks about this too: “yes, we have information that Georgia is preparing for combat operations in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. That is why Chechen special troops from battalions East and West are in both republics in direction of a possible blow. Our soldiers will be able to offer a decent response in case of attack. I do not advise anyone to play with fire, moreover so this is applicable to the guys from Tbilisi. They will trigger a storm but will be unable to hide from it.”
In his interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, retired Colonel Vyacheslav Patenko, who frequently participated in peacekeeping missions of the UN in Angola said that according to international rules there should be no combat units, moreover special troops in collective peacekeeping forces in conflict zones. According to Patenko, information of Kakiev and Yamadaev is seriously exaggerated. Colonel Igor Konashenkov, aide to the Commander of the Ground Forces, made a similar statement to Nezavisimaya Gazeta. According to Konashenkov, “there are no special troops including those from so-called Chechen battalion West either in Abkhazia or in South Ossetia.” However, he does not rule out that there may be Chechen servicemen within the peacekeeping battalions including those who have probably served in the 42nd mechanized infantry division permanently based in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Yury Netkachev, who after his service in the group of Russian forces in Transcaucasia between 1998 and 2001 trained special troops for guarding of former leader of Adzharia Aslan Abashidze later dismissed by Saakashvili, considered the information provided by Kakiev to be quite credible. Netkachev explained that special troops may have any legend like peacekeepers, combat engineers, observers. Nobody in the Defense Ministry and in the Foreign Ministry will confirm their presence in the collective peacekeeping forces officially. In any case, if this is done in our groups of forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, this is done correctly. It were Chechen units that played a decisive role in defeating of Georgian forces in Abkhazia in 1993. They have a colossal combat spirit and experience and, of course, the General Staff should somehow use this in the regions where Russia has its own geopolitical interests.”
Thus, Russian-Georgian relations grow worse again. Along with this, Moscow is preparing for the most decisive response actions.