The Counterterrorism Center seized several units of special explosive devices and explosive substance in large quantities. (EN)

The Counterterrorism Center of the State Security Service of Georgia, as a result of operational-searching and investigative activities, seized several units of special explosive devices and explosive substance in large quantities.


Within the framework of investigative activities, on the basis of preliminary intelligence, as a result of searching activities in a particular motor vehicle, two units of batteries intended for electronic motor vehicle were seized by the officers of Counterterrorism Center. These batteries were exploited as containers.


Both of them contained a total of six units of special explosive devices. Special EOD group has retrieved explosive devices and substance out of the mentioned containers, which were sent to Expert-Forensic Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for examination, while, for the purposes of ensuring covert and operational activities, the indicated containers were brought back to their original visual state and were returned to the above-mentioned package as so-called moulage, in order to avoid the disclosure of ongoing covert investigative activities both to the instigators, as well as to perpetrators.  Further movement of the package was evidently being controlled by the officers of the Counterterrorism Center. The key objective of these investigative activities was to identify the instigators and additional individuals, who might had been involved in the transportation of the mentioned cargo, as well as to determine the route of transportation of the explosive devices and final purposes of their usage. 


It has been established that the explosive devices contain military-grade plastic explosive substance - C-4, which can be set off both by means of an electric detonator, as well as by a special timer. Total weight of the explosive substance amounts to 14 kilograms. The containers also included six units of detonators and six units of special keys. All six individual boxes of the explosive devices included six electric timers meant for setting off the explosive devices with the programmed set-off time.   


As a result of initial examination of the seized devices, it has been established that all six devices had been manufactured by a highly-professional specialist and intended for wide radius of damage.  Detonation of such device in places of assembly would cause significant damage to infrastructure and large-scale fatal casualties. The charge of the mentioned substance is much more powerful than the charge of the explosive TNT.


As a result of complex activities carried out by the Counterterrorism Center, and on the basis of testimonies of interrogated witnesses and retrieved audio files, it is being established that the indicated explosive devices and substance were transferred to Georgia from Odessa, Ukraine via Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey on 19th of January through the border-crossing point “Sarpi” in a minivan-type vehicle owned by a citizen of Ukraine and it was planned to transfer it to the Russian Federation, specifically to the city of Voronezh, through the border-crossing point - "Dariali".


Later, on behalf of the instigator, the decision was changed and the individuals involved in the process tried to take one of the containers, where three explosive devices were placed, out of the country from the mentioned point, while the second container with three explosive devices was left at the certain address in Tbilisi. The indicated package was stopped and seized by the employees of the Counterterrorism Center when it was supposed to cross the Georgia-Russia state border from the Georgian side.


As a result of operational-searching and investigate activities conducted by the State Security Service, it has been established that 7 citizens of Georgia, 3 citizens of Ukraine and 2 citizens of Armenia had been involved in transfer of the mentioned explosive devices to the territory of Georgia, in moving them within the country, transiting one of the containers in the direction of the Russian Federation  and placement of the other one in the capital. According to the criminal case materials, the mentioned process had been organized by the citizen of Ukraine, the candidate for delegate of the Kiev district of the local Rada of Odesa region in 2020 from the party "Servant of the People", Andrey Sharashidze, who is originally from the city of Batumi. The mentioned person had been actively monitoring the movement of the above-mentioned explosive devices from outside Georgia. The investigation has also established that the above-mentioned individuals, except for Sharashidze, supposedly did not know about the explosive devices and capsule detonators placed in the batteries of the car.


Currently, active operational-investigative activities are being carried out in order to expose individuals involved in criminal activities, to determine both the manufacturing, as well as  the route of movement and the final destination of the special explosive devices, to identify the targets of the attack and to obtain evidences.


As for the other three explosive devices left in the city of Tbilisi – the ongoing investigation will determine whether they had been intended for transfer to the Russian Federation or would have remained in Georgia for detonation. However, the details of the mentioned case and factual circumstances create a basis for suspicion that using the territory of Georgia and involving multiple citizens of Georgia in this process served the purpose of creating the opinion that terrorist acts that would be carried out in Georgia or abroad, would be blamed on Georgia for both planning and implementation.


The Counterterrorism Center of the State Security Service of Georgia is conducting an investigation into the case under paragraph 3 of the Article 236 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages illegal purchase and illegal storage of explosive substance or explosive device. The crime envisages imprisonment for a term of 3 to 6 years. However, the qualification of the crime may be clarified in the course of the investigation and the investigation may also continue under Article 18-323, which implies preparation of a terrorist act. This crime is punishable by ten to fifteen years of imprisonment.


We would like to express gratitude to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their assistance provided during the ongoing complex measures related to the case.