SSG reports seizure of explosive devices involving Ukrainian citizen Andrei Sharashidze

05-02-2024 12:20:23 Justice

The State Security Service’s counter-terrorist centre, through operational and investigative activities, successfully seized several units of special explosive devices and a significant quantity of explosives, as announced during a briefing at the State Security Service on Monday.

According to the Agency, following investigative actions and based on preliminary information, a specific vehicle was searched, leading to the removal of two electric car accumulators. These accumulators were used as containers, each containing six special explosive devices.

“The bomb squad removed the explosive devices, sending them to the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Expert-Criminal Department for examination. To maintain the secrecy of ongoing investigative measures, the containers were restored to their original appearance and presented as mock-ups so that the secret investigative activities carried out would not become known to both the customers and the performers. The primary goal of the investigation was to determine the orderers and others involved in the cargo transportation, the route of movement, and their final use goals.

The explosive devices were armed with C-4 plastic explosives, typically used by the military, and can be set off using an electric detonator and a specialized timer. The explosive weighs a total of 14 kilograms. The containers were also filled with 6 detonators and 6 special keys. Each of the six explosive device boxes contained an electronic activation timer with a pre-programmed activation time.

Deploying such a device in crowded areas would cause significant damage to infrastructure and large-scale casualties.

The investigation revealed that these devices were transported from the Ukrainian city of Odesa through Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey to Georgia by a Ukrainian citizen. The intended destination was initially the Russian Federation, the city of Voronezh. Subsequently, the plan changed, with one container thought for transit to Russia and another with three explosive devices left in Tbilisi.

The container was stopped and removed by the employees of the counter-terrorist centre when it was supposed to cross the Georgian-Russian state border from the Georgian side.

During the investigation, the SSG revealed that seven individuals from Georgia, three from Ukraine, and two from Armenia were implicated in the importation of explosive devices into Georgia, their transportation within the country, the transfer of one container to the Russian Federation, and the placement of another container in the capital city.

The probe revealed that Andrei Sharashidze, a Ukrainian citizen and MP candidate of the Kyiv district of the local Rada of the Odesa area in 2020 from the Servant of the People party, who is from Batumi, organized the process. This person tracked the transportation of the aforementioned explosive devices from outside Georgia. The inquiry also determined that the other suspects, except for Sharashidze, were most likely uninformed of the explosive devices and detonator capsules implanted in the car’s batteries.

The ongoing investigation aims to gather evidence, determine the intended targets, and clarify the route and final destination.

As for the explosive devices left in Tbilisi, the ongoing investigation will determine whether they were intended to be exported to Russia or remained in Georgia.

The involvement of Georgian citizens suggests a potential attempt to shift blame for planned terrorist acts to Georgia.

The probe is open under Article 236 (illegal purchase and storage of explosive substances and explosive devices) and Article 18-323 (preparation of a terrorist act) of the Criminal Code of Georgia,” the SSG stated.

The State Security Service expressed gratitude to the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their assistance in the ongoing investigation.

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