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30 Nov, 2008 11:34

Motorcade shooting was a Georgian stunt – Poland

Poland has dismissed last week’s shooting incident involving the motorcade of the Georgian and Polish presidents as a stunt. Special services in Warsaw say the alleged attack near the South Ossetian border was a provocat

A report by Poland’s Internal Security Agency (Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego – ABW), published by the Dziennik newspaper, claims Georgia staged the incident for propaganda purposes.

The incident took place on Sunday evening when Georgian President Mikhail Saakasvili was showing his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski the area near the border with South Ossetia. After the convoy stopped at a checkpoint, there was gunfire, which the Georgians claimed was an attack by Russian troops.

On Thursday, Lech Kaczynski's personal security chief was dismissed. Colonel Krzysztof Olszowiec was accused of failing to ensure proper security for the president during his trip to Georgia.

Olszowiec was dismissed despite objections from Kaczynski, according to the Polish media.

The trip to the border area with Russian-backed South Ossetia was the result of a last-minute invitation from Saakashvili, according to Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paskowski.

Initially, Warsaw blamed Russia for the incident. But now Polish security forces say it was staged by Tbilisi.

Russia strongly denied the allegations, saying Tbilisi was behind it. President Kaczynski confirmed that shooting had taken place but stopped short of blaming anyone.

Russia’s position has now been supported by Poland’s ABW, who said “the shots fired near the cars of Georgian and Polish president were a Georgian provocation”.

The document points out that Mikhail Saakashvili kept on smiling after the first shots and his bodyguards didn’t react.

The report also highlights another suspicious fact, namely, that the bus carrying journalists was instructed to travel in front of the motorcade, while the car with Kaczynski’s own bodyguards was pushed back by Georgian soldiers. The result was that they were not in a position to witness the alleged shooting.

The official report was sent to leading national politicians.

Meanwhile ABW is considering a legal action against Dziennik. They said the documents that the newspaper revealed were classified, making publication of them a crime.