Information of the Russian media that Chechen guerrillas infiltrated Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia stirred confusion and panic among Georgian officials. Information is scarce and unsubstantiated.
Russian news agency “Interfax” reported this evening that 400 Chechen guerrillas engaged Abkhaz paramilitaries in a village of Gulripshi. Russian media sources evaluate the engagement as opening of the “second front” by the Chechen guerrillas.
Reaction of the Georgian officials at present moment is that of confusion. Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee Gia Baramidze admitted that there are Chechen guerrillas in Abkhazia. However he did not confirm the information that they entered the province from Georgian-controlled Kodori gorge.
The ministries of Defense, Security and Interior did not issue any statement.
Gia Baramidze essentially evaluated the developments as a Russian information stunt. In his opinion this can serve as a prelude to Russia’s military involvement in Georgia. The fears of possible Russian military engagement were stirred after Russian officials attempted to exploit world’s anti-terrorist drive to step up accusations on Georgia harboring the Chechen terrorists.
As initial confusion in Georgian government subsides, we will update you on developments.