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Georgia accuses Russia of 'outright aggression'

RIA Novosti

11/07/2008 15:00 TBILISI, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's Foreign Ministry said Friday the intrusion of Russian warplanes into Georgian airspace was an act of "military aggression."

"Russia's cynical aggression with regard to inalienable parts of Georgia has grown into outright and extremely dangerous military aggression," the ministry said.

A senior Georgian Air Force official said Wednesday that two Russian fighters had flown into Georgian airspace and were later joined by two other aircraft.

Russia admitted Thursday it had sent aircraft to monitor the situation in South Ossetia due to fears Georgia would invade the separatist republic.

After Russia's admission, Tbilisi recalled its ambassador from Moscow.

South Ossetia and another Georgian breakaway republic, Abkhazia, have been the source of rising tensions between Georgia and Russia of late. Moscow recently moved to establish closer ties with the separatist regions and sent additional peacekeepers into Abkhazia, saying they were needed to deter "new bloodshed."

Georgia has accused Moscow of trying to annex its territory.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday during her visit to Georgia that Russia should help Georgia resolve conflicts with its breakaway regions rather than exacerbating them, and urged the countries to refrain from violence.

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