John Matthew Hall
August 19, 2008
Russian soldiers today held blindfolded Georgian servicemen at gunpoint and commandeered US Humvees in a dramatic sequence of events in Poti, a key Black Sea port.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe stated that if Russia has seized any US military equipment in Georgia, it must return it immediately.
In Poti, on the Black Sea, Russian forces blocked access to the naval and commercial ports this morning and towed the missile boat Dioskuria, one of the navy’s most sophisticated vessels, out of sight of observers. A loud explosion was heard minutes later.
Several hours later, an Associated Press photographer saw Russian trucks and armored personnel carriers leaving the port with about 20 blindfolded and handcuffed men riding on them. Port spokesman Eduard Mashevoriani said the men were Georgian soldiers.
The Russians also took with them four Humvees that were at the port awaiting shipment back to the United States after taking part in earlier US-Georgian military exercises.
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