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Russia Says Reports on its Involvement in Tbilisi Blasts 'Propaganda Hype'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Jul.'11 / 09:48

A report by the Washington Times that the U.S. intelligence agencies corroborated findings of the Georgian authorities which traced an explosion close to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi to a Russian military officer, is an attempt to stir new wave of "propaganda hype", Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said on July 28.

An explosive went off about 60 meters from the U.S. embassy's exterior wall in Tbilisi on September 22, 2010; police said they destroyed another explosive device at the same location; no one was injured and no property of the embassy was damaged.

Series of other explosions took place in Tbilisi in October and November, 2010 in which an elderly woman was died. In December, 2010 the Georgian Interior Ministry said it arrested several Georgian citizens suspected of carrying out these explosions; it said that the group was acting under the instructions of the Abkhaz-based Russian military officer.

Late last month court in Tbilisi found 15 people guilty of terrorist in connection to these blasts and sentenced some of them to a lengthy prison terms. Russian Maj. Yevgeny Borisov, claimed by Tbilisi to be a mastermind of the blasts, was sentenced to 30 years of jail term in absentia.

On July 21 the Washington Times ran an article about Georgia's allegations. Republican Senator Mark Kirk told the newspaper, that if Georgia's claims were true "a Russian-sponsored attack on a U.S. Embassy would constitute the most serious crisis in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War and put to lie any ‘reset’ in bilateral relations.”

On July 27 the Washington Times reported in a separate article, that "highly classified report" by the U.S. intelligence agencies on the September 22 blast outside the U.S. embassy's exterior wall confirmed Georgia's allegations that the Russian officer was a mastermind of the explosion.

The newspaper was quoting as a source two unnamed U.S. officials who had read the classified report.

"It seems, that this article [by the Washington Times] aims at stirring second wave of information [campaign] over this issue, which has already been discussed both with the Americans and with Georgian representatives in the beginning of this year," Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said in a comment posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website.

He said that because of "an obvious sensitivity of the issue", Moscow reacted to the allegation that Russia was involved in the terrorist attacks in Georgia "responsibly".

"We have carried out a relevant, professional investigation," Karasin said. "Both the Americans and official representatives of Tbilisi were informed about results of this work."

"We believe that this kind of issue should be considered seriously without excessive propaganda hype. But it seems that's not the goal of those who are behind this campaign," Karasin said, adding that channels of communication on this issue "are still open on our part."

In its most recent, third article on the issue, posted on its website on July 28, the Washington Times reported that U.S. National Intelligence Council, analytical arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provided Congress on Thursday with a new analysis of the blast. Quoting an unnamed U.S. official, the Washington Times reported that there was “no consensus” on responsibility for the Tbilisi blast.

In December, 2010 Georgia asked Russia to cooperation in the investigation; officials in Tbilisi have said for number of times, that Russia was not willing to cooperate.

Deputy spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, Mark C. Toner, declined to comment on the issue on July 27, saying: "We don’t comment on investigations into intelligence matters."

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