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Shots Fired Near Georgian, Polish Presidents

Georgian officials say shots were fired at a motorcade carrying the presidents of Georgia and Poland. No injuries were reported. The Georgian leader blames Russian troops in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia for Sunday's incident. But as Stefan Bos reports from Budapest, Russia's military and South Ossetia have denied their forces were involved in the gunfire.

Shaky television pictures showed a convoy carrying Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, turning back amid automatic gunfire.

The incident occurred after the motorcade was allegedly stopped by a Russian patrol while traveling to a refugee camp in Georgia, near the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

It is unclear from television footage who might have been shooting. Mr. Saakashvili blamed Russian troops manning a checkpoint on the border with South Ossetia.

Russian and South Ossetian authorities strongly denied their troops attacked the motorcade. South Ossetian defense official Ibrahim Gassaev accused Georgia of "distributing misinformation," while a Russian military official in the area said allegations of Russian troops firing on the convoy "do not correspond to reality".

But, Poland's President Kaczynski said suggestions that the incident was staged are "lies".

Mr. Kaczynski noted that although he heard people shouting in Russian, he could not determine whether the shots were directed at the presidential motorcade.

The Polish president was in Georgia to mark the fifth anniversary of Georgia's Rose Revolution that swept Mikheil Saakashvili into office.

But the celebrations were overshadowed by concerns about the aftermath of a brief war in August between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia. After the conflict, Russia recognized both areas as independent states and stationed thousands of troops there.

At a religious ceremony marking the anniversary of the Rose Revolution, President Saakashvili made clear that the struggle for a reunited Georgia would continue.

Mr. Saakashvili's remarks were translated into English by EuroNews television.

"Georgia is here, and here it will stay,"said Mikheil Saakashvili. "Those people who wish we would disappear will be defeated in the end. We must come together and continue our struggle because it is just."

Yet the recent war with Russia and continuing violence have fueled protests against President Saakashvili.

Earlier Sunday, Nino Burjanadze, who helped launch the Rose Revolution, announced the formation of a new political party to challenge Mr. Saakashvili's leadership.