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DATE=11/17/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / GEORGIA ATTACK (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256268 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Georgia has protested to Russia about an air attack on Georgian territory along its border with Chechnya. V-O-A Correspondent Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports on rising tensions between Russia and its southern Caucasus neighbor. TEXT: Georgian officials say three helicopters crossed the border from Chechnya Wednesday and dropped explosive devices on a remote mountain slope. No one was injured in the attack. Minister of State Vazha Lorkdipanidze said Georgia protested the violation of its airspace and demanded an explanation from Moscow. /// Lorkdipanidze Act - in Russian - Fade Under /// He says, "We issued a decisive protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry, and to the Russian ambassador in Tbilisi." In Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin confirmed the airspace violation, but had no other details. It was not immediately clear whether the incursion was intentional or accidental. The speaker of Georgia's parliament says President Eduard Shevardnadze was informed of the incident and would make a statement in Istanbul, where he is attending the European security summit. The air attack comes at a time when relations are at a low ebb between Russia and its south Caucasus neighbors, especially Georgia. Russia has indirectly accused the Georgian government of aiding Chechen rebels. Georgia has denied the accusations, saying various forces in Russia are trying to create tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi. But Georgia has taken in more than two-thousand Chechen refugees who have trekked across high Caucasus Mountain paths to reach the frontier. (Signed) NEB/PFH/JWH/JP 17-Nov-1999 11:58 AM EDT (17-Nov-1999 1658 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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