Georgia demands UN talks on alleged Russian missile strike (video)

( AFP ) - Georgia called Wednesday for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council as Russia continued to deny Tbilisi's accusations that it was behind a missile strike on Georgian territory.

" Georgia will ask for an emergency session of the UN Security Council (to) consider the recent incident of the bombing," said Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili.

Georgia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Irakli Chikovani, confirmed the intention of his government to demand an extraordinary meeting of the Security Council to discuss what he called a violation of the UN charter.

The strike was an "act of aggression against a sovereign state" and "we call on the UN to conduct a thorough investigation," he said.

The announcement came as members of a Russian-led peacekeeping force in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia spent a second day examining the crater left by an unexploded missile on Monday.

The missile landed some 50 kilometres ( 30 miles) from the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

The Russian peacekeepers were accompanied by international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a spokeswoman for the pan-European security and democracy watchdog said.

No one was killed when the weapon crashed into a field just outside the village of Tsitelubani.

However, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's accusation that Russia deliberately fired on Georgia has raised the stakes in already tense relations between the pro-Western Caucasus country and its former master.

Bezhuashvili said "we are continuing to gather proof. We have just received civil aviation radar recordings that confirm the military recordings."

He also said that OSCE and Russian investigations, which have not yet been made public, confirmed the Georgian accusation that the attacking plane approached from Russian territory.

"We are interested in radar data from other countries. We call on the European Union to cooperate."

Russia flatly denies responsibility and has suggested that a Georgian plane carried out the attack as a provocation.

" Moscow is extremely concerned by the incident and considers it an attempt to derail tangible positive tendencies in Russian-Georgian relations, and also to complicate the situation in resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict," Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin was quoted as saying in a statement.

The OSCE late Wednesday released a statement urging "an inclusive investigation" and saying that "such an investigation should include the participation of all implicated parties."

Although couched in diplomatic language, the statement appeared to point at Russia, since Georgia is the country already promoting the investigation.

Ties between Moscow and Tbilisi are in tatters amid accusations that Russia is supporting rebels in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as Russian jitters over Georgia's bid to join the NATO military alliance.

When Georgia arrested four Russians on spying charges in 2006, Moscow responded with sweeping sanctions against its tiny neighbour. Some restrictions have been eased this year, but the air raid row deals a fresh blow to relations.

The latest flare-up prompted concern across Europe.

The United States meanwhile called on both sides to work together to resolve the incident.

"There have been previous attacks and whoever was responsible for this particular attack, these sort of provocations need to end," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

Some of the strongest international reaction came from the ex-Soviet Baltic states, which are now members of NATO and the European Union.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves spoke by telephone with his Georgian counterpart Saakashvili, telling him Monday's incident was unacceptable and had trampled on Georgia's sovereignty, the Baltic News Service (BNS) reported.

"A speedy, thorough and objective international inquiry to find out all the circumstances of this incident is called for," Ilves was quoted as saying.

There were also statements of condemnation and demands for a thorough probe from Britain and Latvia as well as pleas for restraint to be shown by all sides from Sweden and the European Union.

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