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Russia Says Evidence Refutes Tbilisi’s Missile Accusations

Russia has handed over to Georgia air radar records proving it had nothing to do with the August 6 missile incident, Russian Foreign Ministry special envoy Valery Kenyakin said on August 16. Georgian officials, however, said “no concrete information” had been received.

Kenyakin is part of a group of Russian experts in Tbilisi to probe into the incident. The delegation held its first meeting in Tbilisi on August 16 with Georgia’s deputy defense minister, Batu Kutelia.

“We have handed over to our Georgian colleagues relevant documents showing that Russian radars detected nothing which could implicate Russia in the August 6 missile incident,” Kenyakin told journalists after talks in the Georgian Defense Ministry late on August 16.

He dismissed evidence produced by the Georgian side, saying that “we can not consider this information to be sufficient evidence.”

The chief of staff of the Russian Air Force, Igor Khvorov, who is also in the delegation, also told journalists that “no sufficient evidence has been provided by the Georgian side.”

Batu Kutelia, the Georgian deputy defense minister, however, told journalists after the meeting that the Georgian side had “failed to receive concrete information from our Russian colleagues.”

He downplayed the importance of the joint Russian-Georgian investigation, saying that only “issues of secondary importance” remained. Two other probes – one by the Georgian side and another one by the International Group of Experts – he said, had already dealt with the substantive issues.

“Both of these investigations have confirmed that the aircraft came from Russia, which then dropped the bomb,” Kutelia said. “Obtaining some additional information and exchange of information with our Russian colleagues was a major goal of this meeting.”

“We have requested the Russian side to provide additional information that could shed some light on other details of the incident, involving issues of secondary importance such as: from where did the aircraft take off; why did it fire the missile and what was the combat mission of the aircraft,” he added.

On August 17, the Russian delegation inspected the incident site at the village of Tsitelubani. It also plans to visit the Georgian Interior Ministry where over 6,000 fragments of the missile are kept.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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