A mutiny has broken out at a military base near Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, after the government revealed Tuesday that a military coup had been uncovered.
The Interior Ministry accused that the rebellion, supported by Russia, was aimed at destabilizing Georgia and assassinating President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Russia refuted the allegation, calling it a nightmare and an agony for the Saakashvili regime.
Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitri O. Rogozin, said: We have slowly begun to get accustomed to mad accusations by Georgian political and military officials.
According to Georgian Defense Minister David Sikharulidze, The main aim of this uprising was to disrupt the NATO military exercises, due to begin in Georgia Wednesday.
As a gesture of solidarity, around 1,000 soldiers from over a dozen NATO member-states and partners are scheduled to conduct crisis response at a Georgian army base east of Tbilisi, around 70 kilometers from the nearest Russian troop positions in the breakaway South Ossetia.
Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned of possible negative consequences of the joint maneuvers.
Sikharulidze indicated that the government was suppressing the unrest that broke out at the military base 19 kilometers away from the capital Tuesday morning.
He said the rebel commanders were dismissed and the soldiers confined to barracks.
Several top Defense Ministry officers were arrested.
We are in negotiations with the soldiers at the Mukhrovani base and I hope this uprising will end soon, he added.
He said the government was negotiating with those military units in the tank battalion that had announced disobedience.
Civilians also reportedly joined the mutiny.
Heavy artillery has been deployed to surround the military unit at Mukhorvani. Helicopters and military vehicles have also been dispatched to ensure security.
All high-ranking officials from the Georgian Defense Ministry, led by the Defense Minister, have arrived at the military camp, Russia's state-owned ITAR TASS news agency said.
Shota Utiashvili, head of the Internal Ministry Analysis and Information Department, revealed the details of the coup plot that was intercepted by his officials.
He told a news conference that a former chief of Special Forces, who led the plot, was absconding.
He also claimed to possess proof of Gia Gvaladze, who had been wanted by Interpol and currently residing in Russia, confiding with his colleagues about the coup.
His plan was to implement the coup Thursday with the help of about 5000 soldiers. The rebels also planned to eliminate leaders of government, including Minister of Internal Affairs, Vano Merabishvili.
The plotters were receiving money from Moscow for uniting Georgia with Russia again.
Utiashvili said that a criminal case was registered on the coup, and an investigation was started. Another organizer of the coup, Otaradze, was being searched for, he added.
The military unrest came at a time when the country's opposition was preparing to block main roads leading to Tbilisi as a part of its month-long campaign of street protests, demanding the resignation of Saakashvili.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August last year, which ended in Moscow crushing a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Last week, Russian border guards took up permanent positions on the boundaries of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, based on border security pacts signed between Russia and its smaller neighbors.
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