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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Envoy Says Tbilisi Made Up Missile Claim

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia's UN ambassador has accused Georgia of fabricating claims that a Russian plane entered the country's airspace and dropped a missile because it wanted to create "a political tsunami."

Georgia says a Russian Su-24 jet entered the country's airspace and dropped a missile Aug. 6. The missile did not explode and no casualties were reported, but the incident sharply escalated long-standing tensions over the pro-Moscow Georgian regions of South Ossetia -- near where the missile fell -- and Abkhazia.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, accused Georgia of thwarting a proper investigation by covering up the hole where the weapon was found.

"Georgia leveled and filled in the hole," Churkin said at a news conference Tuesday.

He said remains of the missile included a small piece bearing markings in English.

"The use of foreign-manufactured components is banned," Churkin said, adding that Russian pilots were even forbidden from "wearing Swiss-made watches."

Two groups of independent experts that investigated the incident agreed that Georgian airspace was violated three times Aug. 6 by aircraft flying from Russian airspace.

A team from Estonia, Poland and Britain said their investigation on Saturday and Sunday found that the last two passes were toward the Georgian radar near Gori, and the missile was launched about 10 kilometers from the radar site.

In Tbilisi, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Merab Antadze dismissed Churkin's comments on Wednesday as "shameless Soviet diplomacy."

Also Wednesday, Georgia's Foreign Ministry said a fighter jet flying from Russia violated its airspace for the second time this month on Tuesday, when it flew five kilometers into Georgian territory.

A Defense Ministry spokesman immediately denied that any Air Force planes had even flown near Georgian territory Tuesday.

AP, Reuters