Today, on November 6, in the vicinity of the Kirbali village, Gori municipality, a local resident, Tamaz Ginturi, was shot dead by the Russian military forces during an attempt of unlawful arrest. Tamaz Ginturi was a former member of the Special Forces and a veteran of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.

According to the information of the State Security Service of Georgia, the shooting took place in the occupied territory.

‘‘During the attempt to illegally detain a local resident, a Georgian citizen was fatally shot by the Russian occupying forces, and another was illegally detained,’’ says the SSSG statement.

The other citizen is Levan Dotiashvili. He was presumably transferred to the Tskhinvali pre-trial detention center.

An investigation into the murder of Tamaz Ginturi and the kidnapping of Levan Dotiashvili was launched by the Shida Kartli Police Department under Articles 109 and 143 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which stand for intentional killing and illegal deprivation of liberty, respectfully.

To the right - killed Tamaz Ginturi and to the left - kidnapped Levan Dotiashvili

‘‘What happened near the village of Kirbali once again confirms the difficult security environment in the area and speaks of the severe consequences of the occupation, which, unfortunately, civilians also have to deal with along with the Georgian authorities,’’ said Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili addressing the killing of a local by Russian forces.

‘‘I want to offer my condolences’’, Gharibashvili continues ‘‘to the family and friends of the deceased for his horrific tragedy. The state stands by them in these difficult moments. All relevant mechanisms have been activated in connection with the said incident and international partners have been informed. Active work is underway for the release of another Georgian citizen illegally detained by the occupying forces as soon as possible. We call on the international community to make an appropriate assessment and response to the incident, as well as the representatives of the occupation regime, to cooperate with all parties in order to identify and punish the culprit.’’

President Salome Zourabichvili also addressed the murder of a Georgian citizen. ‘‘I am deeply outraged by the killing of a Georgian citizen during an illegal detention attempt by the Russian occupying forces.

This yet another brutal attack on Georgian statehood once again reveals the true face of the ‘‘brother in faith.’’

I urgently call on the international community to unequivocally condemn the actions of Russia, which blatantly and shamelessly violates all international norms,’’ Zourabichvili wrote on social network X (formerly Twitter).

According to the locals, the murder took place near St. George's Church in Lomisi. Tamaz Ginturi and Levan Dotiashvili left the cemetery to light a candle in the church. This is the very temple whose door the occupying forces nailed shut with a tin plate. A photo depicting this was released by Davit Katsarava, the leader of the anti-occupation movement, on August 28.

Church of St. George of Kirbal, Lomisi

The village of Kirbali lies 30 kilometers from the city of Gori and houses about 500 inhabitants. After the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the village cemetery and hundreds of hectares of land ended up beyond the occupation line.

Kirbali is considered the most dangerous of the villages bordering the occupation line in Gori municipality. There is almost no family left in the village, whose family member has not been detained and transferred to the Tskhinvali detention center by the Russian military. Russian soldiers detain local residents as they herd their cattle, go to the forest to fetch firewood, or pray in the church.

A few days ago, on October 26, the head of the public relations service of the Patriarchate, deacon Andria Jagmaidze, said that the Russian military nailed the door of the church after someone there waved the Georgian flag.

‘‘A short while ago, it was still possible to go up there. This year too, our clergymen have been there, but then

someone waved a Georgian flag, which caused the Russian military to take stricter measures - nailing the door shut and restricting entry.

We have several such temples in the Gori district,’’ said Jagmaidze.

As a reminder, on October 24, village Mleta residents in Dusheti released a video that shows Russian soldiers in the yard of St. George's Church located in Mtiuleti surveilling the area using drones and other equipment.

The next day, Andria Jagmaidze ascended the Lomisi temple and urged the public not to aggravate the situation. ‘‘Let’s not take it as far as those in that temple of Lomisi in the Gori region, who recklessly, supposedly in the name of patriotism, waved a Georgian flag, and now that temple is closed with nobody allowed to go up there. This is a danger zone requiring caution. This is a border region of the occupied territory,’’ said Jagmaidze.

The local priest Davit Burduli took a step or a few further and said that the Russian soldiers visit them all the time, never bring any tension or trouble, and always ‘’leave filled with warmth and love.’’

Georgian News
Georgian News
is an independent socio-political online edition. The website is operated by the Information Resources Network (IRN).