Russia: Israel gave Georgia arms

Russian deputy chief of staff: "Israel supplied weapons, unmanned aerial drones and explosives."

state-religion survey 224 (photo credit: )
state-religion survey 224
(photo credit: )
Russia's deputy army chief, Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, accused Israel on Tuesday of arming the Georgian military with mines, explosive charges, special explosives for clearing minefields and eight kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles. "In 2007, Israeli experts trained Georgian commandos in Georgia and there were plans to supply heavy weaponry, electronic weapons, tanks and other arms at a later date, but the deal didn't work out," Nogovitsyn told a Moscow press conference. Nogovitsyn also said that the Russian soldiers had detained 20 mercenaries near the Georgian city of Poti, including three Arabs, all wearing Georgian army uniforms. Nogovitsyn also said that Israeli troops in 2007 had trained Georgian commando troops. He added that Russia had begun pulling its troops out of Georgia on Monday, in accordance with the French-brokered ceasefire. Georgia's Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia said that Georgian corporals and sergeants train with German alpine units, the navy work with French instructors and special operations and urban warfare troops are taught by Israelis. An Israeli defense official told The Jerusalem Post recently that Israel had rejected frequent requests for arms from Georgia in the months leading up to the outbreak of hostilities with Russia. "Several months ago, we carried out an evaluation of the situation in Georgia and realized that Georgia and Russia were on a collision course. We have good relations with both, and don't want to back either in this conflict," the official said. "We therefore made a decision to drastically minimize sales of weapons to Georgia." Some of the Israeli sales with Georgia in the past included night-vision equipment, rifles and unmanned drones for gathering intelligence. Israel did not agree, however, to upgrade the drones to those that possess high intelligence-gathering capabilities, the defense officials said. Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew, and is said to have contributed to military cooperation. Yaakov Lappin and news agencies contributed to this report.