Source Pravda.Ru

Russian Defense Minister denies information about sorties over Georgia

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov has rejected information that theRussian Air Force bombed the Pankisi gorge, Georgia. He noted this was notthe first accusation of this kind coming from Georgian law enforcementauthorities. The Minister stressed the Russia had nothing to do with thesesorties.The Defense Minister noted that some registered blasts could be thebeginning of the special operation aimed at eliminating bandit groups inthe Pankisi gorge, conducted by Georgia itself. "In the event it is true, Ican only welcome it (operation) and call it a correct step," Ivanov wasquoted as saying in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk while paying a workingvisit to the Siberian military district. The Minister stressed that rebelslocated in the Pankisi gorge "present a threat not only to Russians butalso to Georgians," RTR television reported.According to information from Georgian officials, unknown planes violatedGeorgia's airspace this morning and made sorties over several villages inthe Pankisi gorge. According to Georgian sources, three people were killedand seven were wounded..