UN Observers: GRAD Rockets in Kodori not fired from Tkvarcheli

(civil.ge) - UN observers have confirmed that GRAD rockets hit Tbilisi-controlled upper Kodori Gorge on October 25 near the village of Azhara, but said missiles were not launched from Abkhaz-controlled Tkvarcheli, as Tbilisi officials claimed.

Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said that three GRAD rockets launched from Tkvarcheli hit the area close to Azhara village on October 25, and the Georgian side immediately blamed the Abkhaz side of violating the cease-fire agreement. Abkhaz officials denied the accusations, suggesting that rebel warlord Emzar Kvitsiani's supporters could have been behind the incident. The Russian Foreign Ministry questioned the validity of reported shelling and said that the Russian peacekeepers observed no shooting at all on October 25. Finally, the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) said on October 26 that it would investigate the incident, reports Trend.

The findings at the second impact site are consistent with the information that the rockets were of the GRAD (BM-21) type. The country of origin of the rockets could not be determined. There were no explosions at the two impact sites investigated. The Georgian officials informed UNOMIG that there was no explosion at the third impact site either. The investigation team determined that the rockets were launched from a location south of the impact sites, a press release issued by the UNOMIG on November 1 reads.

UNOMIG also said the findings indicate that the rockets were not launched from a mobile, vehicle mounted, BM-21 launcher.

The investigation team concluded that the most likely scenario congruent with the topographical and ballistic data is that the rockets were fired with the help of an improvised launcher from a location along that southern ridge [which rises to 1200-1400 meters opposite to the Azhara village], UNOMIG said.

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