Russians Fired Missile At Village, Georgia Says

Russians Fired Missile At Village, Georgia Says
August 8th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Russians Fired Missile At Village, Georgia Says

Russians Fired Missile At Village, Georgia Says
Washington Post
August 8, 2007
Pg. 10
By Anton Troianovski, Special to The Washington Post
MOSCOW, Aug. 7 -- Georgia on Tuesday charged that a Russian warplane fired a large missile at a Georgian village Monday in an act of "undisguised aggression." Moscow sharply denied that any of its warplanes were in the area, as the two former Soviet republics entered a new crisis in their long-volatile relations.
Citing radar records and eyewitness accounts, Georgia claimed that at least one Russian attack plane entered its airspace from the north on Monday evening and shot a one-ton guided missile toward a village about 35 miles northwest of the capital, Tbilisi. The missile struck near a house but failed to explode, according to the Georgian account. No one was reported killed or injured.
Photographs posted on the Georgian Interior Ministry's Web site showed missile fragments, some with Russian writing on them, scattered in a field.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili visited the site Tuesday and accused Russia of "meaning to cause panic, disrupt the peace in Georgia and ultimately change the country's political course," the Interfax news agency reported. He stood before a map of the alleged flight path, an almost straight line from a Russian military base near the Georgian border to the village, Tsitelubani.
"Our response to the provocation will be calm and unity," Saakashvili pledged.
Moscow on Tuesday evening called the incident a provocation by Georgia. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement quoted by Interfax suggested that Georgian aircraft had fired the missile in a bid to thwart negotiations involving the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which host Russian military forces.
The missile fell near Georgia's de facto border with South Ossetia. Mikhail Mindzayev, the separatist government's foreign minister, said that a Georgian aircraft had fired the missile in an attempt to exert "psychological pressure" on Ossetians.
But Georgia said it had hard evidence that Russia was behind the apparent attack. "These flight plans -- no one can really challenge them in any serious way," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said by telephone from Georgia.
Russia and Georgia have exchanged political broadsides on and off since Saakashvili came to power in 2004 seeking to build Georgia's ties with the West while working to reduce Russian influence. Last year, Georgia expelled four Russians for alleged espionage, leading Russia to retaliate by deporting Georgians, closing communications and blocking the import of Georgian wine.
Representatives of the 56-country Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe investigated the site Tuesday, OSCE spokeswoman Virginie Coulloudon said, and expected to issue a report Wednesday on the incident.
Georgia's Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest what it called a "gross violation of the sovereignty of the country." The ambassador, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, later told reporters in Tbilisi that it was impossible that Russian aircraft had fired the missile, explaining that doing so "would not be in Russia's interests."
Tuesday's announcement was at least the second time this year that Georgia claimed that Russia had attacked its territory from the air. Georgian officials said Russian helicopters fired at a border settlement between Abkhazia and Georgia in March, and later charged that Russia hindered a U.N. investigation into the attack. The U.N. report, published last month, reached no conclusion as to who was behind the incident.
Alexander Golts, a military analyst in Moscow, cast the missile incident as the latest chapter in the tense and murky relationship between the two countries. He said Russia is irked by Saakashvili's pro-Western moves -- including a bid to join NATO -- while Georgia is frustrated by continuing violence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"Both countries need to make an enemy of their counterpart," Golts said in a telephone interview.
August 17th, 2007  
The Other Guy
hoo boy....
August 17th, 2007  
Great... just what we need. Another border crisis with the Soviet Union. Expect this time it's with possible future NATO members.

Oh well, I guess I better polish off that "How to Speak Russian" Book of mine. Because if this heats up into something big. I think I might be in Moscow my Christmas.
Russians Fired Missile At Village, Georgia Says
August 17th, 2007  
Oh, man....

Make sure you send me a postcard, 5.56.

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