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“Rose anniversary”: from submachine gun bursts to verbal shoot up2008-11-24 14:33
Georgia's state holiday has been overshadowed. Submachine gun shots were heard near the motorcade of the Georgian and Polish presidents on the 5th anniversary of the Rose Revolution last Sunday. Fortunately no one was hurt. However the started verbal shoot up of the politicians is fraught with grave consequences that can play into the hands of Mikhail Saakashvili. And a question arises: was the incident a surprise for everybody?
Poland's president stated that the automatic gun shots on the border with South Ossetia were heard a few meters from him and the president of Georgia. "We heard a series of automatic gun shots about 30 meters from me", - Lech Kaczynski said to the Polish journalists that were accompanying him during his visit to Georgia on Sunday, the Polish Public TV reports. As soon as the two presidents got off the car several submachine gun bursts were initiated. "First I just started looking closer to understand what was going on. Then I approached president Saakashvili and we went along very slowly, exchanged the cars (moved to another car), " - Poland's president said. "I did not
think there had been any threat", - Kaczynski added.
"When we reached the Russian checkpoint the shots from the Russian side were heard. There were at least three series of carbine shooting. The president (Lech Kaczynski) preserved iron calmness", - the minister in Polish President's chancellery Mikhal Kaminsky who was on the official delegation in the motorcade said in a live television broadcast.
The information and press committee of South Ossetia has stated there was no firing of the motorcade of Georgia's and Poland's presidents Lech Kaczynski and Mikhail Saakashvili from the side of the republic. South Ossetian Ministry of Defense states too that on Sunday there was no fire in the direction of the Georgian border by the republic's armed forces.
Immediately after the information on the incident was made public the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stated that the Russian troops had not fired the Georgian territory and that it was Tbilisi's "wishful thinking". "On the basis of the information from Georgia on some firing in the districts adjacent to South Ossetia that was too hastily disseminated by the Western mass media the Ministry of Defense undertook an additional study of the situation", - Russia's Deputy Foreign Ministry Grigory Karasin said to the journalists on Sunday.
"No fire was applied from South Ossetia over the adjacent territory of Georgia", - Karasin stated. According to him "it was a repeated example of wishful thinking from the Georgian side". In the peacekeeping headquarters in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict area the news on possible involvement of the Russian peacekeepers in firing was disproved. The Ministry of Defense of South Ossetia also stated there had been no firing over the motorcade of Georgia's and Poland's presidents from their side and that the armed units of the republic had not opened fire in the direction of the Georgian border.
The reaction of the Russian special services was prompt. They consider the Georgian statement on the firing of the Georgian territory from South Ossetia an act of provocation. "The Georgian side is poorly prepared to this provocation" - a source in the Russian special services said to the journalists of the "Novosti" information agency on Sunday while commenting on Tbilisi's statement on the supposed shooting in the direction of Georgia from South Ossetia.