Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Georgia’s Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had uncovered a Russia-backed military coup a day before the scheduled start of NATO military exercises there.

At a morning news conference, a senior Interior Ministry official, Shota Utiashvili, said several top Defense Ministry officers have been arrested. He said preliminary evidence shows that the plot was coordinated with Russia.

“The plan was organized with Russia, and the plan was at a minimum to spoil the NATO exercises, at a maximum to carry out a large-scale military uprising in the country,” Mr. Utiashvili said.

Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitri O. Rogozin, said the accusations were baseless.

“Of course we have slowly begun to get accustomed to mad accusations by Georgian political and military officials that if there is hail or thunderstorms, this is all Moscow’s work,” he said, according to Interfax.

Georgia also reported that a tank battalion has mutinied. Defense Minister David Sikharulidze announced on Rustavi-2 television that the battalion, which is based just northeast of Tbilisi, announced the mutiny Tuesday. Mr. Sikharulidze said Georgia’s Interior Ministry had uncovered plans for a wider-scale mutiny.