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Georgia Calls for UN Emergency Session on Russian Aggression


Georgia is urging the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to address Russia's alleged missile firing and violation of Georgian airspace. From VOA's U.N. Bureau, Suzanne Presto reports.

Georgia's deputy representative, Irakli Chikovani, says his nation has proof that two Russian fighter jets entered more than 75 kilometers into Georgian territory and launched a guided missile. Georgian officials say that weapon landed by a house near the rebel Georgian province of South Ossetia, but did not explode.

"The government of Georgia possesses incontrovertible evidence from the NATO-standard radar documenting the flight plan of the aircrafts, which includes flight times and the trajectory of intruder aircrafts," he said.

Chikovani called Monday's incident "an act of aggression." He said it was not the only time Russia violated Georgian airspace in recent days.

"Only the day before, on August 5, a military aircraft, most likely a Sukhoi-24, breached the Georgian airspace from the Russian side," he added. "The next day, the airstrike was conducted."

Officials in Russia have denied the Georgian accusations. Georgia has asked Russian officials to investigate what the Georgian diplomat called "an aerial bombardment."

Chikovani says the former Soviet republic has also asked the European Union to investigate, saying the Russia has a pattern of transgressions against Georgia.

"It seems the acts of aggression against Georgia are becoming a tendency, and a very dangerous one," he explained.

Georgian diplomat Chikovani referred to an incident in March, when his nation accused Russia of carrying out a rocket attack in the breakaway province of Abkhazia. A U.N. investigation into the matter was inconclusive.

"My country, as a responsible democratic state, cannot tolerate such offenses against our civilians and our sovereignty," he said.

Chikovani says he does not know the missile's intended target, but he speculated the goal was to disrupt democratic advances in Georgia.

"It should be stressed that this act of aggression may have been aimed at hindering the recent positive dynamics in democratization and the conflict resolution under way in Georgia," he stated.

Chikovani says the fact that the weapon did not explode is inconsequential. He says Russia committed "an act of aggression" when it violated Georgian airspace and fired the missile about 60 kilometers outside the capital, Tbilisi. Still, he says, Georgia does not consider itself to be in a state of conflict with Russia.

Officials in the Russian-leaning breakaway region of South Ossetia say Georgia staged the missile launch in an effort to discredit Russia. Georgian leaders accuse Moscow of supporting South Ossetian separatists.

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