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Chechnya’s Kadirov Sent Hitman to Murder Georgian Anchor, Mtavari Arkhi Director Claims

Vasambeg Bokov, an ethnic-Ingush citizen of Russia, was sent to Georgia by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to assassinate TV anchor Giorgi Gabunia, Mtavari Arkhi director Nika Gvaramia stated at a press conference on June 15.

Nika Gvaramia alleged that 37-year-old Bokov was sent to Georgia on instructions from the head of the Chechen Republic (a Russian territory) to murder Mtavari Arkhi’s journalist, who had used foul language while on air in an address to Russian President Vladimir Putin last year.

According to the Mtavari Arkhi director, Georgian law enforcement authorities foiled Bokov’s plot on June 12 after carrying out a special operation on Kavtaradze street in Tbilisi. Gvaramia claimed that authorities arrested the alleged suspect on charges “other than plotting a murder.”

Gvaramia also noted that Ukrainian authorities launched an inquiry into the murder plot “a few months ago” after they uncovered a covert scheme to liquidate Giorgi Gabunia by a Chechen hitman – “coordinated from Russia.”

Gvaramia further claimed the Ukrainian law enforcement did not notify the Georgian government about the ongoing investigation fearing information leakage as – he claimed – “Georgia was not a trustworthy partner when an inquiry is launched against a Russian national.” Georgian authorities took over the investigation after the coronavirus pandemic struck, he stated.

Giorgi Gabunia said he was not aware of a murder plot against him, adding that he knew he was under surveillance and that he was using bodyguard services after Kadyrov “threatened him openly.”

The State Security Service, Georgia’s chief intelligence outfit, released a statement after Gvaramia’s televised remarks maintaining that a Russian national with initials V. B. was apprehended on charges of purchasing and possessing counterfeit documents.

The Security Service said V. B. was seized as part of a larger investigation into plotting to commit murder which is conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Center of the same agency. It mentioned that by arresting the suspect – another, “graver” crime was averted.

Security authorities stated that a thorough investigation is ongoing and that they are cooperating with international counterparts, including Interpol, to elicit more evidence.

Backstory

Giorgi Gabunia, then-anchor at Rustavi 2 TV, addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin using swear words and insulting language while on air on July 8, 2019. Gabunia’s behavior triggered backlash as scores of protesters gathered at Rustavi 2 TV building hours after his address was broadcast.

Georgian authorities slammed popular Georgian anchor for his “provocative action,” which was aimed at “destabilizing the country.”

Rustavi 2’s self-regulatory body suspended Gabunia from his position for two months’ time.

Back then, Ramzan Kadyrov reacted to Gabunia’s tirade calling for launching an investigation against him and dubbed it as “a hostile move” from the Georgian side.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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