Georgian troops mutiny

The mutiny erupted on the morning of 5 May, after a Georgian Army tank battalion stationed in Mukhrovani, 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, began to disobey orders.tank_georgian_army

According to the mutineers statement, circulated by local media, they were not planning any military action, and urging for dialogue between the government and the opposition during ongoing political crisis.

Colonel Mamuka Gorgishvili, commander of the Mukhrovani Tank Battalion, stated: “Watching the country being torn apart by the current standoff is unbearable. There is a possibility of this standoff turning violent”. Police then barred reporters from approaching the base.

According to the Minister of Defense, Vasil Sikharulidze, the plotters’ minimum goal was to undermine the NATO military exercises beginning this week in Georgia. Sikharulidze also mentioned to the Rustavi 2 television that the rebellion was also “an attempt of a military coup.”

In a televised address, the President of Georgia said the mutineers had been given a deadline to surrender. Although not specifying when the deadline would expire, he did say that an order “to act appropriately” has been given out to the law enforcement agencies if the negotiations would fail.

President Saakashvili also suggested that the mutiny was part of a wider Russian-orchestrated plan to disrupt the upcoming NATO military exercises “Cooperative Longbow – Cooperative Lancer 09” in Georgia, scheduled to start on 6 May and Georgia’s joining with EU’s Eastern Partnership.

The soldiers at Mukhrovani quickly surrendered after Saakashvili went to the base to negotiate with the mutineers.

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