Russia has issued a stern warning to Georgia over the brief detention of four Russian soldiers. Images of the arrest, with the Russians being violently man-handled by Georgian officers, have angered Moscow. It has warned of retaliation if such an incident happens again.
Tuesday’s detention of the four Russians came near Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia. Russian Lieutenant-General Alexander Burutin said: “Our soldiers showed extreme patience and did not fire a single shot, which meant there were no victims. However, we can not guarantee that Russian soldiers will show the same restraint in the future. Their patience has limits. The consequences could be extremely drastic and may lead to bloodshed. And we have no doubt that the Georgians will bear all responsibility for these provocations and their consequences.”
Georgia, which accuses Moscow of trying to annex Abkhazia, maintains the Russia soldiers were not authorised to carry weapons into the area where they were stopped. The soldiers were released a day later, but Georgian authorities kept anti-tank missiles they seized from the Russians.