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Russia denies violating Georgian airspace August 21 - 2

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Russian aircraft did not violate Georgian airspace August 21 as Georgia's Foreign Ministry said, an aide to the Russian Air Force commander said Wednesday.
(Adds Georgian deputy defense minister quotes in paragraphs 4-7)

MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aircraft did not violate Georgian airspace August 21 as Georgia's Foreign Ministry said, an aide to the Russian Air Force commander said Wednesday.

"Aircraft of the Russian Air Force made no flights along Georgia's borders August 21, that country's airspace was not violated by Russian planes," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry Wednesday delivered a note of protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry claiming Georgian airspace was violated from Russia Tuesday.

"On August 21, at 18:46-18:49 [2:46-2:49 p.m. GMT], Georgian air defenses twice registered state border violations by an aircraft and intrusions into [Georgian] airspace from Russia near the village of Omarishara, in Upper Abkhazia," the ministry said, adding that the aircraft flew five kilometers [three miles] into the country at about 470-490 kilometers per hour (300 mph).

Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kuteliya told journalists that "the airspace violations were registered by military radars and civil aviation." His ministry said the plane could have been a modified Sukhoi fighter.

Kuteliya said this "could have been interpreted as an ordinary violation, but after the August 6 incident it acquires a specific meaning," as according to the Georgian Defense Ministry, it is the ninth case in which Georgian airspace has been violated in the past three months.

"The Defense Ministry does not rule out that the regular violation of Georgian airspace is connected with reconnaissance activity or manifests aggression," he said.

Georgia also accuses the Russian Air Force of violating its airspace and dropping a missile on a village August 6, which Russia has also denied.

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