Russia ready for more talks on Georgian air incident

Russia is prepared to continue talks with Georgia over the missile found near the village of Tsitelubani, according to Russia's Foreign Ministry. Georgia says that last week a Russian plane flew over its territory and dropped a rocket, which did not explo

Russian inspectors have examined the site, and deny the rocket was launched by Russia.

“Firstly, the flight trajectory does not match how the components of the rocket are spread around the location. We have examined all the parts, and we cannot find the rocket number. There was a question as to why the explosive device did not work, but it has been destroyed. In fact, out of what we have seen, two thirds of the parts are simply not there at the site,” Igor Khvorov, Chief of Staff from Russian Air Force, commented.

Some components of a Russian-made Kh-58 rocket are at the site, but the Russian delegation is skeptical that it supports the Georgians' case.

“There is a segment of a Kh-58, but it seems to have neatly sawn off. And it's corroded, even though the incident happened only a short time ago. The logical conclusion is that this is a part of another rocket,” Pavel Akulenok, from Russian Air Forces, said.

Georgia has accused a Russian plane of entering its airspace and dropping the missile, which did not explode, almost two weeks ago. Moscow has branded the accusations a provocation.

There is a segment of a Kh-58, but it seems to have neatly sawn off. And it's corroded, even though the incident happened only a short time ago. The logical conclusion is that this is a part of another rocket.

Pavel Akulenok, Russian Air Forces

In response, Georgia invited experts from Sweden, the U.S. and the Baltics to examine the rocket site.

“The report confirms the correctness of all information which we have and the correctness of all Georgian claims,” David Dondua from Georgia's Foreign Ministry stated.

So, with conflicting inspection results the two sides are still at loggerheads.

Georgia has asked for a UN debate on Russia's alleged incursion, but even there it was rebuffed by its neighbour. Russia says any discussion should only follow a definitive evaluation of the evidence.

With the situation looking as if it might result in a complete breakdown in relations, Moscow has tried to lower the temperature

“For Georgia, the most important problem is to peacefully resolve its conflicts with its breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They shouldn't just use unscrupulous political means, and create provocations; this will not help their cause but make it more difficult for these issues to be resolved. Russia has strong nerves, and is ready to talk about anything, including the missile incident,” Grigory Karasin, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, said.

But with no side prepared to lose face, the dispute is likely to rumble on.