Russia finds no evidence its plane violated Georgia’s air space
Russia's top military experts who have been working at the site of the missile incident have made several conclusions after carrying out an investigation. They say two thirds of the rocket including its fuse are missing. According to them, there was no unsanctioned crossing of the Georgian border by a Russian jet on August 6.
Russia's airforce chief of staff says there is no logic at all to the incident for which Georgia is blaming Russia.
“We found that there was no border violation by a Russian jet. Who flew over Georgia, used weapons is Georgia's internal issue. The facts don't have any logical connection with each other,” stated Igor Khvorov, Russia's Air Force Chief of Staff.
Russia stressed its willingness to co-operate from the beginning.
“If Georgia wants to spoil the relationship with Russia further in order to get dividends in other areas, such as European and Atlantic integration, its relationship with the West, then Georgia will arrange such incidents in the future. If Georgia decides to have balanced relaions with all sides, the situation will change,” Valery Kenyaykin noted.
Georgia, however, says Russia refused constructive co-operation, and says it does not want to continue consultations with Russia over the issue.
On the night of August 6 a missile was dropped near the village of Tsitelubani, 65km north of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The rocket fell but did not explode. The Georgian authorities quickly announced the rocket was a Soviet-era anti-radar one. Georgia says Russia is responsible for the incident.
Russia denies all allegations, saying the incident was staged by Georgia.
“I believe that it was yet another theatrical show. It was performed, but it wasn't staged professionally,” Sergey Ivanov, First Deputy Prime Minister, stated.
Even some Georgians said their own officials might have been involved.
“I do not rule out that the bombing of the territory near Tsitelubani was a show staged by the Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili,” said Georgia's former Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili.
Russian peacekeepers stationed in nearby South Ossetia saw an unknown plane flying in the area on August 6.When they informed the Georgian authorities of the incident, Tbilisi dismissed the information and gave no response. As much as 16 hours later, Georgia said a Russian plane had violated its airspace.
Tbilisi invited experts from the U.S., Latvia and the Baltics, who earlier this week said they thought a Russian airplane had crossed Georgia's border. There was no reference to a missile.
Some say discovering the truth won't be made easier considering the Georgian side may have tampered with some of the evidence.
An aggressive act carried out by Russia, or a staged provocation by Georgia? The missile might have failed to detonate, but the incident exploded into a full-scale diplomatic row. Russia is calling for a thorough investigation, whileGeorgia says it needs no further evidence and wants Russia to explain itself. Meanwhile, the story is getting more and more complicated for experts on both sides.