News BlogMissions OperationsRussia Caucasus Ukraine

Georgia: A mine explodes as an EU observer vehicle passes. Toll: 1 dead

(B2) The driver of an ambulance (1) which accompanied one of the patrols of the EUMM – the European Union observation force in Georgia – near the border or “administrative boundary” with Abkhazia, was killed this morning by a mine explosion.

According to what EUMM reported, this (Sunday) morning, at 11:05 a.m., during a routine patrol, a mine exploded near Eristskali, slightly damaging the armored vehicle in which the observers were. And injuring (fatally) the driver of the ambulance who accompanied the patrol. Taken to hospital, he died shortly after of his injuries.

The causes of the incident remain obscure. But according to the Georgian television channel, Rustavi 2, there were two explosions. The mine was apparently activated while the paramedic
(Avatndil Akhaladze) was getting out of his vehicle. A doctor was also reportedly injured, more lightly. (the scenario thus suggests that there was indeed the establishment of a mine, with
will to kill, and not simply from an “accident” of an old mine)

Expressing his condolences to the family and friends of the employee, Ambassador Haber who commands the EUMM immediately launched a warning to authorities "We are reviewing the details of the incident. But I would like to make it clear that any attack on our unarmed observers and their patrols, who are carrying out their legitimate duty, is completely unacceptable. We will contact authorities on both sides of the administrative border to investigate the details of the incident and ensure that it cannot happen again.".

This incident comes as uncertainty grows. On the one hand, Russia appears to be sending additional troops to Abkhazia; according to Georgian sources, Russian special forces have taken up positions in the Gali region. On the other hand, Russia vetoed both the continuation of
the UN mission in Abkhazia (Monug) and the OSCE observers (see also “ESDP report“). As a result, Georgia is considering extending the mission of European Union observers.

(1) The European Union has signed a contract for its medical assistance with a private company, “Mediclub”, specialized in medical assistance and medical services to expatriates (embassies, international organizations, etc.). She also accompanies UNOMIG observers.

Photo credit: Rustavi2

Summary: “At 11.05am this morning one of the armored vehicles carrying out a routine patrol of EUMM was slightly damaged by a mine explosion, near Eristskali, close to the Abkhazian administrative boundary line, the accompanying ambulance was also damaged and the driver injured by the explosion; unfortunately despite being taken to hospital, he died of his injuries shortly afterwards.” The Head of EUMM Ambassador Haber commented: “I would like to send my sympathy to the family and friends of the MediClub driver who died today. We are still looking into the details of this incident, but I would like to make clear that any unprovoked attacks on our unarmed monitors and their patrols, going about their legitimate duties, are completely unacceptable. We intend to contact the authorities on both sides of the administrative boundary line to investigate the details of this incident and ensure that nothing like this happens again."


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

Comments closed.