Russia: September 4, 2002

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Follow-up on the earlier Russian accusation that an upgraded Georgian Su-25 "Scorpian" bombed the Pankisi Gorge on 23 August: the Georgian aircraft plant's director threatened to sue Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on 29 August for his offensive statements. Another interesting twist is that the pilot named by the Russians, Giorgi Rustveli, is an Israeli citizen and apparently the only one qualified to fly the "Scorpian" (having done so at test flights in England and France in 2001). However, Georgian radars allegedly spotted Russian SU-25s at 06:19 and soon afterwards, the bombing started. The Georgians claim that this supports their original accusation that standard Su-25s out of Mozdok were more than capable of the raid. - Adam Geibel

 

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