One of Russian legislature leaders Vladimir Zhirinovsky provokes Georgian leaders to confront him
In the morning of August 11, motorboat having Russian tourists and 40 deputies of Russian State Duma aboard, left Russian port Sochi for Sukhumi, Abkhazia.
There is leader of Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky among the deputies. He says that he intends to meet the leaders of the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia, but his main idea is just having a rest in Abkhazia resorts.
Remarkably, Vladimir Zhirinovsky undertook his sea demarche to Abkhazia in response to the threat of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to sink boat with Russian tourists heading for this self-proclaimed republic.
When the motorboat started approaching the shore of Abkhazia, a Georgian frontier guards motorboat blocked its way. Georgian military ships requested the captain to stop the motorboat and leave the Georgian territorial waters. The Georgians threatened to shoot at the motorboat if its captain does not comply.
LDPR’s press department reported that a Georgian military ship approached the motorboat, "and every minute the request to return to the Russian territorial water is voiced via the megaphone”. "In case of not complying, the Georgian military promises to start firing at the passenger motorboat”, states the press department.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that “no way the boat will turn back, it will continue sailing to Sukhumi despite the threats by Georgians. Maybe, in 3 hours we will be in Sukhumi”. The deputy said that several Abkhazian military boats appeared, there can be exchange of fire between them and the Georgian military ships at any time. “The Abkhazian motorboat circled the Georgian ship and request it to leave the territorial waters of Abnkhazia, but we care little about this”, said Mr. Zhirinovsky.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Georgian coastguard, general David Gulua called the attempt of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the group of Duma deputies to reach Abkhazia by sea a “provocation”. "We consider the actions of the Russian motorboat crew as an attempt to force through the border", said Mr. Gulua to Interfax and added that all measures will be taken to return the motorboat in the Russian territorial waters.
Deputy Minister of Security of Georgia Gigi Ugulava said that the motorboat entered the Georgian territorial waters, being guarded by Russian military ships. “Of course, we are not going to start confrontation, but we have encountered violation of all the agreements and international norms”, said Mr. Ugulava. He did not rule out the possibility of arresting the Russian motorboat.
Russian motorboat Akatsia was the one of the two passenger boats which have been making regular trips from Sochi, Russia to Sukhumi, Abkhazia with Russian tourists aboard.
After the recent threat of Georgian President Saakashvili to shoot boat with Russian tourists heading for Abkhazia, the two boats continue carrying tourists from Russia to Abkhazia, as usual.