Ukraine refuses to extradite former Azov fighter Georgy Tsertsvadze to Russia

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine refused to fulfill Russia’s request to extradite former Georgian special forces agent and Azov Regiment fighter Georgy Tsertsvazde, who was earlier detained in Kyiv at Interpol’s request, as announced by his attorney Kseniya Prokonova, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

“Literally this week we received the decision to refuse to extradite. That is, the Prosecutor’s General Office is not handing Georgy over to Russia… We have set a precedent and have not handed over a citizen who fought for Ukraine, on Ukraine’s side, to the state with whom we are currently at war, to be honest,” the attorney said.

She noted that now Tsertsvazde can now stay in Ukrainian territory legally. However, according to her, there is still a list of countries which it would be undesirable for him to travel to, because they “carry out all of Russia’s extradition orders”. Egypt and Turkey are such countries.

In addition, the attorney announced plans to request Ukrainian citizenship for Tsertsvazde. She said that this process could take about a year.

“I want to say thank you to all the people who believed in me and did everything to ensure that this process ended exactly how it has ended… I will continue to do what I came for,” said Tsertsvazde, who was also present at the press conference.

Tsertsvazde was arrested on January 15 in Zhuliany airport. He was declared wanted by Russia on charges of premeditated murder and attempted murder, committed in 2003 in Sochi. Attorneys claim that the charges have been fabricated by Russia.

Tsertsvazde was later released from the pre-trial detention. The Prosecutor General’s Office explained his release by saying that his extradition to Russia could have a negative influence on Georgian state interests.
At the end of January it was announced that he had applied for the status of refugee.

  Georgy Tsertsvazde, Azov battalion, extradition, Russia, Ukraine