Defence Ministry Denies Georgia Used Cluster Bombs against Population and Civil Premises

Politics Materials 2 September 2008 12:49 (UTC +04:00)

Georgia, Tbilisi, 2 September / Trend corr. N.Kirtskhalia/ Georgian Defence Ministry denied the reports of Human Rights Watch (HRW) international organization that Georgia used cluster bombs against civil population and civil premises.

HRW stated that it had received an official letter from the Georgian Defence Ministry, which confirmed using of cluster bombs M-85 by Georgia at the Roki Tunnel connecting Georgia and Russia.

"Georgian armed forces possess rocket systems GRADLAR 160 and MK4 LAR160 (with М-85 cluster bombs) with the maximum firing range of 45 km. Georgia did not use this type of rockets against civilians, civil premises and settlements during the conflict with Russia, in the Tskhinvali region, or elsewhere," Ministry stated.

According to the Defence Ministry, GRADLAR system was used against Russia's military objects and against the troops heading for Georgia in the section from the Roki Tunnel to the Zar Road.

GRADLAR system was not either used in the Shindisi village during military actions or after them. Shindisi was one of the last positions taken by the Georgian troops during retreat and until the positions were completely left, Ministry said.

"The enemy troops did not destroy any GRADLAR system. After withdrawal of the Georgian troops from Shindisi, Georgian armed forced did not use artillery, Ministry said.

"Detection of М-85 shells in Shindisi is doubtful, especially since there is no proof for destructions by the shells. The fact requires proper investigation. Georgia is ready to participate in the investigation process and to provide any relevant assistance. The procurer may be released if necessary," Ministry reported.

In the early morning of 8 August, large-scale military actions commenced in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali. Later Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and forced back the Georgian servicemen.

On 12 August, Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev said he had decided to complete the operation on constraining Georgia to peace.

Russian peacekeeping troops and international observers remained in Georgia.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]