Georgian police foil 'Russian-backed' bomb plot
Three men were arrested after trying to blow up state buildings in Georgia's second-largest city of Kutaisi in a plot masterminded by a Russian intelligence officer, police said on Thursday.
The suspects planned to attack Kutaisi city hall, a justice ministry building and a local opposition party office, but police found their explosives Thursday before they were detonated, an interior ministry statement said.
"According to the defendants' testimony, an officer of the Russian Federation provided them with the explosive device," the statement said.
In a separate incident, bomb disposal experts were called in to destroy a suspect package which was discovered near United Nations offices in the capital Tbilisi, but no explosives were found.
In recent months, Georgian police have detained a series of suspects alleged to have staged several explosions on Russian orders last year near targets including the US embassy and Tbilisi's main railway station, killing one person.
Unexploded bombs were also discovered last month outside a private television station in the capital.
Political tensions between Tbilisi and Moscow have remained high since the war between the ex-Soviet neighbours in 2008.
After the first arrests in December, the Russian foreign ministry denied any involvement and described the blasts as "a show, staged by the authorities in Tbilisi".
© 2011 AFP