The Georgian army claims it has quashed a Russian-backed mutiny within its ranks.
Georgian officials say Moscow was trying to foment trouble ahead of military exercises with NATO tomorrow. President Mikhail Saakashvili personally visited the mutineers once they had surrendered. The rebellion occurred at the Mukhrovani tank base just outside the capital Tbilisi. It’s understood the base commander has been arrested. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, told euronews his country had no part in the day’s events: “I think it is another provocation, both in the information field and in the geopolitical field. The present Georgian leadership has proven to be a supporter of this kind of provocation. I’m absolutely sure that it’s not by chance it happened right before manouevers in Georgia on May 6 that we warned shouldn’t take place,” Lavrov said. Opposition leaders say the mutiny was an attempt by Saakashvili to deflect attention away from widening street protests. Demonstrators postponed plans to extend roadblocks in Tbilisi but continued to voice calls for the president’s resignation.