Ukraine Denies Its Soldiers Fought for Georgia in Russia War
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry denied a Russian claim that it sent troops to fight alongside Georgian army units in a five-day war with Russia last year over the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia, according to Bloomberg.
“No Ukrainian army units entered Georgian territory last August,” Ihor Khalyavinskyi, a ministry spokesman, said by telephone in the Ukrainian capital Kiev today. “Only two Ukrainian soldiers were there as observers under a United Nations mandate.”
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said yesterday that it had “received information” that Ukrainian army troops had fought with Georgia in the war, though it didn’t say this information had been confirmed.
Russia routed Georgia’s army in the war and later recognized South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent countries, a move condemned by the U.S. and many European countries. Russia has agreed to defend both regions’ borders. Moscow previously accused Ukraine of delivering arms to Georgia before the war.
Russian investigators also said they had “incontrovertible proof” that members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization UNA-UNSO fought with the Georgian army.
Oleksandr Kovalenko, head of the UNA-UNSO executive committee, dismissed the Russian claim as “absolute nonsense.”
“Georgia kept everything secret,” Kovalenko said by telephone from Kiev. “They didn’t need us.”