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Russian Officials Comment on Reported Air Attack

South Ossetian secessionist leader Eduard Kokoity has claimed that Georgian aircraft dropped two bombs in the conflict zone on August 6 in order to incriminate Russia. Russian officials have stopped short of directly accusing Tbilisi. 

Kokoity said one bomb landed in a forested area in South Ossetia and the other one in Georgia?s Gori District.

The Georgian Interior Ministry said an air-to-surface rocket was launched by an attack aircraft, presumably an SU-24, which had violated Georgian airspace from the Russian Federation.

Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in South Ossetia, said peacekeepers had observed an aircraft firing a rocket. Echoing Kokoity?s remarks about the two bombs, Kulakhmetov said that peacekeepers were currently searching for one of the bombs.

?I am sure we will find it,? he said. ?There are too many questions about the incident.?

Meanwhile, Yuri Popov, chief Russian negotiator for South Ossetia, who is currently visiting Georgia, said the aircraft was an SU-25 and not an SU-24, as reported by the Georgian side.

The Georgian airforce uses SU-25s.

The Russian ambassador in Tbilisi, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, who was summoned by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, said he ruled out Moscow?s involvement in the incident.

?I do not know what has happened. Ask those who have organized it,? he told journalists after the meeting in the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

?By the way, SU type aircraft are available to the Georgian airforce,? he added.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian)


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