On November 6, near the village of Kirbali, Gori municipality, Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi was shot dead by Russian occupation forces on occupied territory, during an attempt to illegally detain him. Another Georgian citizen, Levan Dotiashvili, was illegally detained.
“A most heinous act took place in the Russia-occupied territory near the village of Kirbali, Gori Municipality, following an attempt to illegally detain a Georgian citizen, with the man killed by a representative of the Russian occupant forces with a firearm,” Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced on Tuesday. “This incident reaffirms the dire security situation on the ground and bears witness to the severe consequences of occupation; unfortunately, along with the Georgian Government, peaceful citizens are also forced to deal with these consequences.”
“I extend my condolences to the family members and loved ones of the deceased and join them in grieving over this tragedy. At this time of sorrow, the state is standing by them. All relevant mechanisms have been set in motion, and international partners have been duly informed. Active work is underway to ensure the prompt release of the second Georgian citizen, who has been illegally detained by the occupying forces. We urge the international community to duly assess and respond to the incident and call on the occupation regime’s representatives to cooperate with all parties in order to identify and punish the culprit,” the PM stated.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said she was “profoundly outraged by the Russian occupying forces’ fatal shooting of a Georgian citizen during an unlawful arrest.”
In her statement, the President went on to say that “This blatant attack on Georgian statehood once again exposes the true nature of the ‘coreligionist brother.’
“I urgently call on the international community to unequivocally condemn Russia’s actions, which have blatantly and shamelessly violated all international norms,” she stated.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the use of force in any form, and express our utmost concern over the deadly shooting incident,” the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia stated, calling on all parties involved to exercise restraint and to take all necessary measures to prevent any further escalations.
“The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) confirms that an incident occurred at the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line, resulting in the tragic loss of a Georgian citizen’s life. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the use of force in any form, and express our utmost concern over the deadly shooting incident. It is imperative that such incidents are prevented to maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.
“We call upon all parties involved to exercise restraint and to take all necessary measures to prevent any further escalations. We are monitoring the situation closely, and are working to diffuse tensions, including through the extensive use of the EUMM-managed hotline to exchange information about the shooting,” they wrote.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation under Articles 109 and 143 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, referring to premeditated murder and illegal restriction of freedom.
“On November 6, 2023, near the village of Kirbali, Gori municipality, in the occupied territory, during an attempt to illegally detain a local resident, a Georgian citizen died as a result of shooting by the Russian occupying forces, and another citizen was illegally detained.
“Active communication is underway using all the tools available to the central government of Georgia,” reads the information disseminated by the State Security Service.
On November 6, according to the available information, Tamaz Ginturi and Levan Dotiashvili were at the Church of Lomisi intending to light candles and pray when the representatives of the Russian occupation forces opened fire. As a result, Tamaz Ginturi was killed, and Levan Dotiashvili was kidnapped.
Representatives of the international community responded to the shooting and kidnapping.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, stated that Russia’s military presence in the occupied separatist regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – is illegal.
“The EU strongly condemns the killing of a Georgian citizen and the detention of another by the Russian border guards in Kirbali. We call for an immediate release,” Borrell tweeted.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic Buric, also demanded the return of the detained Georgian citizen: “Saddened by deadly shooting of a Georgian citizen by Russian officers close to ABL of the Georgian region of Tshkinvali/South Ossetia. Condolences to the family & Georgian authorities. Calling for the release of a second abducted,” she wrote.
“Russia kills,” Viola von Cramon, European parliamentarian, wrote on X. “It kills in Ukraine, in Syria, and, of course, in Georgia. Georgia has 200 years of experience under occupation to know that appeasing a bully never works. Only by standing together against evil can we defeat it. My condolences to the family of yet another victim of Russia.”
“Tragic news from Kirbali. Responsibility fully lies with the occupying power for this heinous act. Only the full ending of Russian occupation of Georgian territories can ensure that such a despicable incident is not repeated ever again,” wrote Miriam M. Lexmann, Member of the European Parliament of the European People’s Party.
UK Ambassador to Georgia Mark Clayton wrote that he was shocked by the killing of Tamaz Ginturi by Russian forces: “I offer my condolences to his family and relatives. Russia should end its illegal presence on Georgian territory and release all detainees,” he said.
A statement was also issued by the Embassy of Estonia in Georgia: “We strongly condemn the fatal incident that happened near the Georgian occupation line, the murder of a Georgian citizen! The use of force by the border guards of the Russian Federation is unacceptable. We sympathize with the family of the deceased.”
“We strongly condemn the killing of a Georgian citizen and the abduction of another in the Tskhinvali region by the Russian occupation forces,” stated the Foreign Minister of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis. “The Russian occupiers will continue to kill until the territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as that of Ukraine, is fully restored,” Landsbergis noted.
The US State Department also condemned the killing of Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi by Russian occupation forces, saying his death is a clear example of the devastation caused by Russia’s occupation of Georgia’s sovereign territory.
The “South Ossetian” TV and radio company released footage showing Tamaz Ginturi, who was killed by the Russian occupation forces, and Levan Dotiashvili, who was abducted, forcing their way into the sealed-shut Lomisi temple.
The released footage, taken by Tamaz and Levan, shows the sealed door of the church. They are seen to break in by force, using their boots and an axe. They enter and begin to pray, at which point the video stops.
The “security service” of occupied Tskhinvali responded to the deadly shooting by claiming that the so-called “border violators” were drunk and resisted the “border guards” during their arrest.
“While trying to arrest them, they resisted the border guards, threatening the life and health of the border guards. The border violators used an axe. Later, they tried to hit the border guard with their car and drove toward Georgia. To prevent these illegal actions and to prevent the illegal crossing of the state border of the republic of South Ossetia, the border guards fired a warning shot in the air, and after the violators did not obey the legal orders, they opened fire on the tires of their car,” the statement reads.
They claim that one of the “border violators” was seriously wounded and was taken to the “territory of Georgia” for emergency medical assistance, while the other was arrested.