U.S. condemns "rocket attack" on Georgia
( RIA Novosti ) - The United States has condemned what it called a rocket attack on Georgia and urged Moscow and Tbilisi to ensure a peaceful resolution in the Caucasus state's breakaway region.
Georgia accused Russia Wednesday of firing a missile on a village 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) northwest of the Georgian capital and near the border with breakaway South Ossetia Monday. The 640-kilogram (1,400-pound) missile did not explode, but has fueled tensions between the former Soviet allies.
"The U.S. condemns the August 6 rocket attack against Georgia," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement late Wednesday. "We praise Georgia's continuing restraint in the face of this air attack and call for the urgent clarification of the facts surrounding this incident."
"The proximity of this attack to Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region and the violation of Georgia's airspace over the zone of conflict underscore the pressing need for progress toward peaceful resolution of the South Ossetia conflict," McCormack said.
"We encourage Russia and Georgia to advance efforts to this end in a constructive spirit, even in the face of this latest attack."
Russia has denied involvement in the incident, demanding a thorough probe and saying it was "a new provocation" staged by Tbilisi to thwart the peace process in the region. South Ossetia echoed the accusations, saying the aircraft came from Georgia's side.
But Georgian experts said Wednesday it was a Russian-designed anti-radar guided missile not in use in Georgia's armed forces. Tbilisi has demanded that the European Union step in and the UN Security Council hold an emergency session on the matter.