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Georgia Made Up Missile Incident – Russia’s UN Envoy Says

Both the March 11 helicopter attack on upper Kodori Gorge and the August 6 missile incident near the South Ossetian conflict zone were made up by the Georgian authorities, the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said on August 21.

Speaking at a news conference in New York, Churkin laid out the findings made by the Russian investigatory group, which worked in Georgia to probe into the missile incident on August 16-17.

He repeated the major findings of the group, which suggest that the Georgian side fabricated evidence and staged the incident.

“Politically, the Russian Federation had nothing to gain [from this incident],” Churkin said. “Whereas the Georgian claim was in line with the recent pattern of behavior by political elements [in Georgia] trying to aggravate tensions over the Russian mediation and peacekeeping role in Abkhazia and [South] Ossetia.”

Georgian authorities, as well as the second investigatory group, made up of European experts, have suggested that the Georgian Defense Ministry’s air radar located just five kilometers away from the missile impact site could have been the target of the Russian aircraft.

Churkin, however, said “if Russian aircraft had wanted to attack Georgian radar they would not have to cross the border.”

It was frequently heard, he said, that Georgia wished to continue dialogue on the breakaway Abkhazia and Ossetia regions, but Tbilisi’s “other line was to discredit Russia.”

He also reiterated that there was no independent evidence, so there was no prospect of going the UN Security Council route. Tbilisi, backed by the United States, has requested that the Security Council debate the issue.

The Russian diplomat said some Security Council members had been quick to side with Georgia, but others had said the way to deal with the matter was through bilateral consultations – something the Russian side wants.

Georgia’s ambassador, Irakli Alasania, also plans a news conference in New York on August 22. He is likely to respond to his Russian counterpart’s allegations and will also present the findings of the second investigatory group, composed of British, Estonian and Polish experts. Their report was issued on August 21 and says that Russia was involved in the August 6 missile incident.

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


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