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Putin ‘Bewildered’ over Georgia’s Spy Planes over Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Apr.'08 / 22:46

During the phone conversation with his Georgian counterpart on April 21, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, “expressed bewilderment” over “the facts of conducting flights by Georgia with military purposes over the [Abkhaz] conflict zone,” the Kremlin press office said.

President Saakashvili said that during the phone conversation with President Putin, “I categorically demanded from him to immediately repeal that act [on establishing links with breakaway regions] and to stop attacks on Georgia.” Saakashvili said that the conversation “was not easy” and also added that the downing of Georgian unmanned spy plane by Russia’s fighter jet, MIG-29, was an “act of aggression.” Russia denies involvement in the incident.

“[The Russian President] has underlined [during the phone conversation] that overflights in the conflict zone contradicts the purpose and spirit of the 1994 Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces and represents a destabilizing factor, which leads to escalation of tensions,” the Kremlin press office said.

As far as Russia’s decision on establishing legal links with Abkhaz and South Ossetia is concerned, the Kremlin statement said, “President Putin has explained in details” to his Georgian counterpart reasons behind the decision.

“It was underlined that issues of socio-economic rehabilitation of the conflict regions were being discussed by the international community for already a long time,” the statement reads. “At the same time President Putin noted that steps undertaken by Russia are fully in compliance of legal framework and are purely of socio-economic nature… The Russian President has expressed hope that the Georgian side will also undertake measure to alleviate social difficulties [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia] and to help economic development of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”

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