Russia has demanded the immediate release of four of its army officers arrested in Georgia on charges of spying. A Georgian government spokesman said the men were apprehended along with 10 locals while planning what they termed “major provocation.” Quoted in the press, the head of the Russian Army described the arrests as “sheer lawlessness.” The group is suspected of gathering information over a number of years on Georgia’s military capabilities as well as NATO Operations and energy resources.
They are also accused of helping to organise an attack in the town of Gori in 2005 in which three police officers died and 23 were injured. Police also surrounded the Russian Army HQ in the capital, Tbilisi, demanding the handover of a fifth officer implicated. Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have soured recently. Georgian Leader Mikhail Saakashvili wants to withdraw the Caucasus nation from Russia’s orbit and integrate more closely with the West. Russia, in turn, accuses Georgia of developing and pursuing anti-Moscow policies.