Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze, who served in the Helmand province of Afghanistan and who went missing on December 19, has been found dead, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania announced at a late-night press conference on Saturday.
He did not provide details about circumstances of Sergeant Kikadze’s death.
“Investigation has to be concluded and after it is over we will provide information about it to the public,” Alasania said.
Two days ago Alasania said the probability that the soldier was alive “is now higher and we have more reasons now to be optimistic that he will return back to his family.”
Speaking at the brief news conference on December 29 Alasania apologized to the family of Sergeant Kikadze for triggering inflated expectations.
This recent incident brings Georgian military death toll in Afghanistan to 19; eight of them died this year.
Georgia has almost doubled its contribution to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan in October to over 1,560 soldiers, becoming the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF operation.
Georgia currently has two battalions in the Helmand province of Afghanistan – 12th battalion of the first infantry brigade and 32nd battalion of the third infantry brigade; for the latter it is a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.