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President: Russia’s Reconnaissance Flights in Conflict Zones ‘Provocation’

Overflight of a Russian helicopter and a drone over Georgian police posts in the vicinity of breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia on March 6 is a “provocation” to which Georgia should not yield, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said on Friday.

“I perceive this as a provocation. There is a difficult situation in the region as a whole and we should be extremely cautious not to yield to any provocation. We respond to such moves with coordinated work with our international partners,” President Margvelashvili told journalists.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said that about 1,000 similar flights have been counted by Tbilisi since the August, 2008 war.

“This [most recent] overflight created no additional threat to us in that particular moment in time,” Alasania said, adding that the Georgian armed forces are ready for any possible scenarios. “We are in permanent combat readiness because twenty percent of our territory is under occupation.”

Tbilisi said that Russia’s Mi-8 military helicopter “intruded” from Russian-occupied South Ossetia at 12:20pm local time on March 6 and flew over Georgian police posts and police building located in nineteen villages across the administrative boundary line. On the same day at 6:22pm a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle “intruded” from breakaway Abkhazia’s Gali district and flew over the Georgian police post in the village of Khurcha, close to the administrative boundary line, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

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

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