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Georgia Grants Political Asylum To Russian Deserter

Dmitry Artemyev
Dmitry Artemyev
TBILISI -- Georgia's Justice Ministry has granted political asylum to a Russian Army deserter, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Private Dmitry Artemyev left his military unit near the village of Perevi in South Ossetia and entered Georgia, asking for political asylum, on July 2.

Representatives of Georgia's Ministry for Refugees told RFE/RL that the decision to give Artemyev asylum was made on August 4, but only made public three weeks later for security reasons.

Vasil Maglaperidze, a spokesman of Georgia's ombudsman, told RFE/RL that despite Russia's demand for Artemyev's extradition, Georgian officials decided to give him political asylum, taking into account the Vienna Convention on Refugees.

Artemyev is the second Russian Army deserter to be granted refugee status in Georgia.

Earlier this year, Sergeant Aleksandr Glukhov left his unit in South Ossetia and turned to Georgia for political asylum, which was granted.

Russia's military forces have been stationed in Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since August last year after the six-day Georgian-Russian military conflict.