Eduard Shevardnadze has neither confirmed nor refuted the information in the Russian mass media stating that Chechen rebels involved in the clashes in the Chechen district of Itum-Kalin came there from the Georgian territory.
When speaking on the national radio, the Georgian president announced that only about 2,500 Chechen refugees lived in the Pankisi gorge, compared to 7,500 last year. He expressed his hope that sooner or later all the refugees would return home.
Yet the "odious terrorists", who came to Georgia together with refugees, are prosecuted by the country's police, the president stressed. Shevardnadze recalled that one of the criminals had been recently extradited to Russia. He was referring to Adam Dekkushev, detained by Georgian security services, accused of organizing terrorist attacks in Moscow and Volgodonsk.
The situation on the Chechen sector of the Russian-Georgian border is "calm and stable", the Georgian Border Guard Service said. At present there are no clashes or skirmishes.
Acting Border Guard Service commander Korneli Salia has confirmed to journalists that Russian frontier troops briefed their Georgian counterparts on skirmishes between Russian border guards and a Chechen armed group. Georgian frontier service is guarding this sector of the border with increased readiness, Salia said.