Russia Denies Intentions to Put Saakashvili on Int’l Wanted List

MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has no plans to put former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on the international wanted list because of his immunity, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Monday.

“All heads of state, incumbent and former, including Mikheil Saakashvili, are vested with immunity,” he said, adding that the former leader’s immunity does not apply to other Georgian officials, who may be designated as suspects by Russian investigators.

Russian media reports earlier said that Saakashvili and members of his inner circle may be put on the international wanted list following Georgia’s deadly 2008 assault on its former republic, South Ossetia.

Georgian forces launched an overnight assault on South Ossetia on August 8, 2008, destroying part of its capital Tskhinvali. To protect local residents, Russia was forced to bring its troops to South Ossetia and following five days of fighting drove the Georgian forces out of the region.

Following the brief war, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former autonomous region of Georgia. Most UN member countries, as well as international organizations including NATO do not recognize South Ossetia as an independent state.

In 2013, Saakashvili announced he would not cooperate with the investigation into actions of the former Georgian authorities during the 2008 conflict.

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