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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ustinov Snubbed in Tbilisi

APTwo of the rebels captured by Georgia being brought Tuesday to a court in Tbilisi. Georgia refused to quickly send them to Russia.
TBILISI, Georgia -- Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov rushed to Tbilisi on Tuesday hoping to win the quick extradition of the 14 rebels who crossed from Chechnya into Georgia on Saturday and Monday.

But his Georgian counterpart, Nugzar Gabrichidze, answered that he wanted proof of their wrongdoing.

"We must observe the procedural norms," Gabrichidze told reporters. "Russia must provide documentary evidence that these people committed crimes. Without that, they can't be extradited to Russia."

A clearly angry Ustinov insisted that his office needs the rebels in a Russian jail. "We wanted to bring these people to Moscow today and put them in Lefortovo jail, since a thorough and objective investigation of their activities can only be conducted in Russia," he said.

President Vladimir Putin warned Tbilisi on Monday that the Kremlin would judge Georgia's readiness to fight Chechen rebels on its territory by how swiftly it hands over the gunmen.

Putin's demand came amid escalating tension between the two former Soviet republics. Russia has accused the Georgian authorities of letting some 60 rebels cross into Chechnya on July 27. In the weeklong fighting that followed, the Russian border guards claimed that most of the rebels were killed, along with eight of their own men.

Meanwhile, the Russian military on Tuesday beefed up roadblocks around Grozny, fearing rebel raids marking the anniversary of their storming of the city Aug. 6, 1996. But insurgents struck elsewhere, blowing up a truckload of troops.

At least 11 soldiers -- Chechens who were drafted into the army -- died when their truck exploded on a radio-controlled land mine planted by rebels in the southern Shatoi region Tuesday, Interfax reported. Another seven troops were seriously wounded and remained in grave condition.

A pro-Moscow Chechen official said that all of the about 30 soldiers on the truck who survived the blast were wounded. The explosion was so strong that it threw the truck 15 meters away and flipped it over, the official said.

A federal armored personnel car racing across Grozny ran over a civilian vehicle Tuesday, badly wounding its driver, a student, the Interfax reported.

The APC's driver was detained, it said.