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Russia Denies Violating Georgia's Airspace
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Russian planes have not violated Georgia's airspace, Russian ambassador Yuri Popov said Wednesday.

"I can say Russian aircraft were not involved in the incident in Georgia's airspace ... Now it is unknown whose plane it was. But I'm 100-percent convinced that no Russian aircraft penetrated Georgia's territory," Popov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying by telephone.

The Russian diplomat is currently in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali to investigate the incident on Monday.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Ustiashvili said earlier on Tuesday that two Russian fighter jets on Monday evening "violated Georgian airspace and dropped a rocket near the Tsitelubani settlement" that did not explode and caused no casualties.

The air-to-ground rocket fell "several dozen meters from a highway and houses of rural dwellers, and nobody has been hurt." Ustiashvili was quoted as saying. The village is located some 15 km from the city of Gori and is close to the South Ossetia region.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili called on European countries to condemn Russia for an alleged missile attack on its territory. Saakashvili visited the wreckage of the missile following claims it was launched from a Russian fighter jet.

"It's not just a problem for Georgia. It's a threat to Georgian security, but also a major risk to European security," Saakashvili said.

Also on Wednesday, Irakli Chikovani, Georgia's deputy permanent representative to the UN said Georgia is seeking a special meeting of the UN Security Council to address its missile dispute with Russia.

Speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters, Chikovani described the missile incident, in which a missile landed in Georgia on Monday, as an "act of aggression" by Russian aircraft.

He said Georgia could not tolerate such offenses against its citizens and sovereignty and would request the Security Council president to convene a special meeting to address the matter.

He would meet later Wednesday with officials of the Republic of the Congo, the 15-member council's president for August, in order to formally request the meeting.

Georgia was also calling for a high-level investigation by the UN Security Council of Monday's missile incident, he added.

But Russia has denied attacking Georgia. The Russian Foreign Ministry said none of its fighter jets were in the area, adding that its peacekeepers in South Ossetia did see an unknown plane fire a missile but it came from inside Georgian territory.

Russia has demanded an investigation into the reported violation of Georgian airspace by Russian fighters.

(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2007)

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