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Russian Jet Fires Missile on Georgian Territory – Minister
/ 7 Aug.'07 / 10:21
Civil Georgia

Two Russian attack aircrafts violated Georgia's airspace and one of them fired an air-to-surface guided rocket onto Georgian territory, the Interior Ministry said on August 7.

The rocket, which did not explode, was fired on an area near to Shavshvebi and Tsiteliubani in the Shida Kartli region, which is near breakaway South Ossetia. The area is about 80 kilometers away from the Russian border and about 65 kilometers away from Tbilisi.

It was fired at about 7:30 pm local time on August 6. No casualties have been reported.

“We have all the evidence, including air traffic records indicating that the jet had come from Russian territory over [Georgia’s] Kazbegi district and returned to Russia via the same route,” Merabishvili said.

“According to the preliminary information, an SU-24 [Fencer] attack aircraft was involved,” Merabishvili said.

In a statement posted on its website, the Interior Ministry said there had been two jets involved in the incident.

It also said that according to the air traffic record, aircrafts took off from the air base which is located near the town of Mozdok, the Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.

"This is an act of aggression carried out by foreign aircraft," Merabishvili said.

Russia has already denied the allegations.

“Russian jets have not conducted any flights in the named area; hence Russian jets have not violated Georgia’s airspace,” Col. Alexander Drobishevsky, an aide to the commander of the Russian air force, told RIA Novosti news agency on August 7.

Reports say that the Russian ambassador in Tbilisi, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, has been summoned by the Georgian Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili also plans a meeting with the diplomatic corps in Tbilisi on August 7, reports say.

On March 11, 2007, the Tbilisi-controlled upper Kodori Gorge in breakaway Abkhazia came under fire. Georgia claimed Russian army helicopters were involved. Moscow has denied any involvement.

A report by the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), issued on July 12, only suggested, but did not explicitly claim, that Russian army helicopters could have been involved in the attack.

Tbilisi said the investigation of the March 11 attack was inconclusive because of the Russian side’s non-cooperative stance and demanded that the international probe be re-opened.

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