According to a Georgian TV channel, now Kvitsiani and about 60 his armed followers are encircled in the upper part of the gorge by special-purpose detachments of the Georgian ministry of the interior. The rebellious Svanetians were moving in the direction of the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi, when they were blocked by the Georgian armed forces. The special-purpose detachments have been said to control all the group's movements. Kvitsiani has made several attempts to break through the blockade, but failed.
Meanwhile, Georgia is continuing to build up its military contingent in the zone of operation. Georgian media report that Svanetian rebel groups have been dispersed, and some of them have ceased all resistance. However, this information has been disproved by the fact of additional Georgian forces and weaponry being moved to the battle zone.
Thus, Georgian army helicopters have been seen flying over the Kodori Gorge – four Mi-24 fire support helicopters and two Mi-8MT transport-combat helicopters.
Furthermore, additional units of Georgian law-enforcement bodies have been deployed in the area, probably for mopping up forests in the mountains. Commander of the CIS peacekeeping force Maj.Gen. Sergei Chaban noted that Georgia is conducting not a police, but a full-fledged military operation in the Kodori Gorge.
Notably, Georgian servicemen who entered the Kodori Gorge last night are dressed in sandy camouflage uniforms like those sported by the US and Georgian military in Iraq. "Presumably, these are elements of the 2nd Brigade stationed in Kutaisi", said the commander of the Russian peacekeepers.
Of course, the presence of Georgian army units and military equipment in the Kodori Gorge contradicts the Moscow Agreements of 1994 on the separation of the warring sides. It also runs counter to the assurances given by official Tbilisi that it would be a mere police operation against Svanetian rebels and army units would not be involved.