08TBILISI819, FOUR CIS PKF BRIEFLY DETAINED AFTER TRAFFIC

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI819 2008-05-19 13:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0819 1401300
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191300Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9465
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000819 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: FOUR CIS PKF BRIEFLY DETAINED AFTER TRAFFIC 
ACCIDENT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) Georgian media reported on May 18 that an armored 
vehicle from a CIS peacekeeping convoy hit a private vehicle 
while traveling to a PKF checkpoint on the Zugdidi side of 
the conflict zone.  Reports claimed that the Russian troops 
were reinforcements for existing peacekeepers stationed on 
the Georgian controlled side of the conflict zone, but the 
United Nations Observer Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) said the 
movement was part of a normal troop rotation.  Media reports 
also alleged that the driver of the vehicle and several other 
peacekeepers were drunk at the time of the incident.  UNOMIG 
confirmed that a CIS BTR 70 hit a private vehicle around 
12:30 am May 18, but could not confirm that the driver was 
drunk.  Four peacekeepers were arrested following a tense 
shouting match between locals and Georgian media and the PKF. 
 According to UNOMIG, the peacekeepers were later released 
without further incident and the situation is calm.  Prime 
Minister Gurgenidze publicly called the peacekeepers' actions 
unacceptable and demanded that Russia coordinate the movement 
of its peacekeepers with Georgia. 
 
2.  (C) UNOMIG issued a situation report of the accident on 
May 18.  UNOMIG monitors confirmed that a CIS PKF convoy 
consisting of three BTR 70 armored vehicles, 10 GAZ 66 
trucks, four URAL trucks and one Kamaz truck was traveling to 
a CIS PKF checkpoint on the Georgian side of the conflict 
zone when one of the BTRs hit a vehicle.  When UNOMIG 
monitors arrived on the scene, a crowd of locals led by 
Samgrelo Governor Zaza Gorozia were arguing with the 
peacekeepers, accusing them of drunkenness (Note: UNOMIG has 
not yet been able to confirm this claim.  End note).  Four 
peacekeepers were arrested and later released following a 
heated exchange between Gorozia and Deputy Commander of the 
CIS PKF Vladimir Rogozin.  According to UNOMIG, Gorozia 
accused Rogozin of not informing the Georgian authorities of 
PKF movement in advance and of having personnel and armored 
vehicles in excess of official numbers.  He told Rogozin that 
he would not allow any CIS PKF vehicles to enter the area 
controlled by the Georgian government for the next seven days 
and instructed Rogozin to inform him personally when future 
CIS PKF convoys enter the Georgian side of the conflict zone 
(Note: it is common procedure for the CIS PKF to inform the 
local authorities in advance of troop rotations.  End note). 
UNOMIG informed us that CIS PKF Chief of Staff Yevgeniy 
Ochalov later apologized to Georgian Commander of 
peacekeeping activities Mamuka Kurashvili for not informing 
the Georgians in advance. 
TEFFT

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