Thursday morning at dawn Georgia's defense ministry deployed heavily armored vehicles, tanks and installations for the Grad system (20 railcars in all) into the city Gori, on the border of the Georgia-Ossetia conflict zone. The defense ministry informed a Rosbalt correspondent that a Georgian peacekeeping force of 350 soldiers is also being redeployed in the region. The peacekeepers and military equipment are being place in the conflict zone as part of Georgia's approved quota in the combined CIS peacekeeping contingent.
A few days ago, Michael Saakashvili announced Georgia's intent to fully implement its given quota of 500 peacekeepers plus military equipment. There are currently 150 Georgian soldiers serving in the collective peacekeeping force. According to Saakashvili, the former administration justified its passive use of the quota by claiming that Georgia was not in a condition to maintain a peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone.
In addition, during the next three days a new commander of the peacekeeping forces will be appointed, as requested by Georgia. General-Major Gulakhmetov will most likely replace Svyatoslav Navzorov. On May 31 Navzorov ordered five posts of Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs located within the conflict zone to be shut down. These posts had been eliminating contraband shipments coming from Russia through South Ossetia into Georgia. Georgia answered this order by sending in its Special Forces, internal troops, and four fighter planes, which were later withdrawn, but only upon guarantee that the Internal Affairs posts remain active.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18