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Russia Missile Strikes GeorgiaTim King Salem-News.com
It is the second reported Russian attack on Georgia in six months.
(MOSCOW) - A missile strike Monday in the republic of Georgia is raising tensions between Russia and the former Soviet state in the Caucasus.
While officials in Moscow deny any involvement, an air traffic controller in Georgia says he watched the blip on his radar originate from Russia, fly to the location of the missile firing, and then return.
Fortunately, nobody was injured as the missile described as a Soviet era AS-Kilter was an apparent dud. This is a guided missile that is just under 16 feet long. It was designed by the Soviets to destroy NATO radar installations.
This week's strike is the second to happen in the last half of a year; Russian-made weapons struck a village in Georgia in March. The AP reports that this latest attack has inflamed tensions again between the two countries. Russia denies any role in the event, instead suggesting that Georgia attacked itself.
Russia added however, that they too will seek a comprehensive investigation of the incident.
As Georgia brings forth evidence of what they say is Russia's role in the attack, their foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili is gaining increasing international support. Even though Russia denies any involvement, it appears that the missile strike could pose political problems when it comes to the fragile relationship Russian maintains with the Republic of Georgia.
Another factor hurting Russia is the disapproval of neighboring countries like Estonia and Latvia. Both nations condemned the incident and called it an act of aggression against Georgia. Even Britain is calling for a thorough investigation.
Mr. Bezhuashvili has stated that he hopes an international panel will examine the evidence. "There is a common understanding of the seriousness of the situation, and are initiating a process of calling for a special session of the U.N. Security Council." he told a reporter.
When a guided missile and an unguided rocket barrage struck remote villages late at night last March in the Kodori Gorge, more than 50 witnesses reportedly heard the sound of helicopters that Georgia claimed had flown in from Russia.
Russia stated that none of their military was involved in that attack also, even though investigators from the UN said the believed the Russians were involved. The UN did not outwardly accuse Russia, and sources say it was because the Russians refused to cooperate and blocked the UN investigators from gaining any evidence to back up their suspicions.
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