Approximately 100 Russian citizens, Chechen refugees who are located in the Pankisskoye gorge announced their desire to voluntarily return to Russia, said Deputy Director of the Ministry for Emergency Situations Yuri Brazhnikov after the conclusion of an official visit to Tbilisi today. He said at the present time preparations are in the works for the first list of people expressing a desire to voluntarily return home, and that number continues to grow.
The Ministry for Emergency Situations press service told Rosbalt that the Georgian side at the present time has created all the necessary conditions for an organized and safe return for the families of Chechen refugees from the Pankisskoye gorge. 'The return to Russia of Chechen refugees will be realized exclusively on voluntary terms and in strict correspondence with legislation. In Chechnya now they are creating the necessary conditions for their return and resettlement including material support,' he said.
Brazhnikov also said in the near future representatives of the Chechen government are planning to organize a trip to the Pankisskoye gorge. 'The idea was met with great interest, and we expect positive results from the trip,' he said. During the course of negotiations in Tbilisi, the question of sending humanitarian aid, mainly food, medicine, and textbooks, to the region from Russia was also addressed.
At the end of the summer 2003, the Ministry of Emergency Situations is planning to deliver Chechen language textbooks, toys, bicycles for children and flour, sugar and medicine for refugees. The Ministry is hopeful that by this time the first group of volunteers will have already returned to Russia.