Germany has come under fire for the surprise arrest of a Russian-wanted “hero general.”
The arrest of a former senior Georgian army general last night cast doubt on Germany’s commitment to stand up to Russian aggression.
Brig-Gen Giorgi Kalandadze was hailed as a national hero in Georgia after leading the defense against a Russian invasion in 2008, and later led Ukrainian troops fighting Russian forces in the separatist Donbas region.
However, if a German court upholds an attempt to extradite him on politically motivated charges, the 41-year-old faces death.
After Tbilisi reissued an Interpol warrant just two days after he publicly criticized the extent of Russian influence in Georgia during a television interview, he was arrested while on his way to visit his daughter in Berlin.
Last night, he spoke from Berlin, where he is on bail pending his hearing.
“It is clear to me that I have been placed on a Russian hunting list – but they will fail,” General Kalandadze said.
It’s not the first time Russian President Vladimir Putin has used his growing political clout in Georgia to try to oust Kalandadze.
When it became clear that witnesses had been coerced, previous attempts, such as claims that he “tortured” Georgia Spetsnaz Special Forces soldiers by insisting they run before sunrise in the rain, were ignored by EU nations.
However, Germany has not dismissed the latest attempt, which revives previously debunked allegations that he tortured a terrorist suspect accused of planting bombs during a two-year terror campaign from 2009 to 2011.
The CIA claimed that Russia’s GRU intelligence agency was behind the bombing campaign, which also targeted the US Embassy in Tbilisi.
General Kalandadze, whose 4th brigade were the only Georgian troops to engage Russian forces in 2008, isn’t the only Georgian who has been pursued in exile.
Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was fatally shot in the streets of Berlin in August 2019 by a Russian FSB agent, according to German authorities.
After his request for protection was denied by Georgian authorities, the security operative, who was working with US intelligence to find Russian and Islamist networks, moved to Germany.
“Since being granted Ukrainian citizenship, I’ve traveled extensively throughout Europe, including to Germany, where my daughter lives on several occasions.
“News from the Brinkwire.”