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Georgia troops seize Gagra, Ardagan

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The Georgian Messenger, N9, May 4, 1919

Two successes

The armies of the Georgian Republic have gained important successes on both fronts. On the coast of the Black Sea they have cleared the district of Gagra of the enemy, and have occupied the strategic frontier of Georgia – the line of river Mekhadyr; in the neighbourhood of Akhaltsikh they have again scattered the Turkish bands and have taken Ardagan.

In both cases the armies of the republic were seeking not….territory belonging to others…todefend their own country. Georgia was not the first to take up arms against the Volunteer Army, or against invasion of her territory from the direction of Ardagan by the Turkish askers (soldiers) and the Mahometan robber-bands. She was not the first to make the attack.

Without any warning, contrary to the promise given to the British authorities by the commanding forces of the Volunteer Army, the troops of General Denikin fell upon Georgian detachments, and transgressing the boundaries of this district, forced their way into the territory of Georgia – into the district of Gagri. The order of the British Government to General Denikin to withdraw from this region is the best proof desirable of the fact that the attacking side was the Volunteer Army. The whole population of Georgia saluted with the highest satisfaction the just intervention of the British authorities in the conviction that Gen, Denikin would not delay in complying with the categorical demand to evacuate this district.

Almost 3 months have passed since then, and the Volunteer Army has continued not merely to maintain its hold on the district of Sochi, but likewise to occupy what is unquestionably Georgian territory in the shape of the district Gagry. During this whole period the Georgian Government was forced to maintain its forces on the line of the river Bzyb on a war footing. The longer this state of things continued, the more evident the intentions of Gen. Denikin became. He desired no peace with Georgia, but was merely waiting for a favourable moment to make an attack on the forces of the republic, and to make a drive into the interior of the country. These circumstances forces the Georgian Republic to take measures to occupy once more the territory which had been occupied by the enemy as the result of a treacherous attack. In the early part of April a revolt broke out in the Sochi district against the Volunteer Army, which was brought about by the restoration methods of oppression of the population. The Georgian Government, however which still hoped that the conflict would be settled in a peaceful manner, did not desire to utilize this favorable opportunity. Only after it became clear that the Volunteer Army had no intention of withdrawing from the district Gagry of its own accord and of giving the troops of the Georgian Republic the possibility of occupying the natural strategic frontiers of the country, did the forces of the Republic the possibility of occupying the natural strategical frontiers of the country, did the forces of the Republic feel themselves compelled to advance. After putting the enemy to flight, they marched forward to the natural boundary of the Republic, the river Mekhadyr, where ceasing to advance, they entrenched themselves.

The advance into the district of the Ardagan and the capture of the citadel of Ardagan were likewise necessary measures of self-defence. In the district of Ardagan was the natural base of the Turkish imperialist forces who were seeking to tear away from the Republic of Georgia Akhaltsikh and Akhalkalak: it was clear that the Republic would be under the continual threat of invasion by Turkish bands, until the latter should receive a decisive lesson. The capture of Ardagan is the last act of self-defence which began with the clearing of the Akhaltsikh district of Turkish detachments. From new on Ardagan, that …[…] of Turkish pashas and askers, on the south-western borders of Georgia, is in the hands of Georgian troops, and presumably any attempt to do any fooling from this quarter has been stopped for a long time to come.

From the time of its foundation, the Georgian Republic has shown more than once that while it desires to remain at peace with its neighbours, it none the less intends that its rights should not be trampled upon. Its internal unity is sufficient, its organization is strong enough to ward off any hostile attempts upon its territory and its liberty.

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