07TBILISI2012, GEORGIA MISSILE ATTACK UPDATE — AUGUST 10

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2012 2007-08-10 11:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7158
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2012/01 2221129
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101129Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7272
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA IMMEDIATE 0019
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 0073
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA IMMEDIATE 0010
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0009
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA IMMEDIATE 0004
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 0009
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 0005
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 0006

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002012 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA & EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA MISSILE ATTACK UPDATE -- AUGUST 10 
 
REF: TBILISI 1993 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) U.S. military experts arrived August 10 to review the 
evidence related to the August 6 missile impact in Georgia. 
Other international experts are expected to arrive in coming 
days, as the Georgian government begins to put together an 
international team to provide transparency to the 
investigation.  The commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Force 
(JPKF), Russian General Murat Kulakhmentov, has put together 
a new report claiming the planes came from the east (i.e., 
Georgian territory), rather than the north as indicated in 
the first JPKF monitoring report August 7, but Georgia and 
OSCE have refused to sign the new report.  End Summary. 
 
Experts Assemble 
---------------- 
2. (C) EUCOM air control and munitions experts arrived in 
Tbilisi August 10, and will begin their stay by meeting with 
Georgian officials.  They will participate in the 
international evaluation team that the Georgians are 
assembling (reftel), and will not provide their assessment to 
the Georgian government before that time, although they will 
share it with post and we will report as soon as it is 
available.  Charge will meet late on August 10 with officials 
from the Georgian Ministries of Defense, Internal Affairs, 
and Foreign Affairs, to discuss how the international team 
will work.  Thus far Lithuania, the U.S., and Sweden have 
committed to providing experts.  Poland, Croatia, and Latvia 
have expressed interest but have not yet committed. 
 
3. (C) Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili told Charge August 9 
that he had called his counterparts in Armenia and Azerbaijan 
to request any radar records to corroborate the data from the 
Georgian military and civilian radar systems.  The Armenians 
have responded that they do not have radar coverage of the 
area in question.  The Azerbaijanis have not yet answered, 
but Bezhuashvili acknowledged to Charge that this is a 
sensitive political issue for them. 
 
Kulakhmetov's Alternative Investigation 
--------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Georgian media have given extensive coverage to a 
contested second report by JPKF monitors, which suggests the 
planes came from the east, rather than the north.  OSCE's 
Jurgen Schmidt explained the sequence of events to us August 
10, noting that the first JPKF-OSCE monitoring visit to the 
area had taken place August 7, and that all three parties to 
the JPKF (Russia, North Ossetia, and Georgia) had signed a 
report documenting the evidence and eyewitness accounts they 
collected.  OSCE then signed the report as an observer, and 
used it as the basis for OSCE's own spot report, noting that 
Ossetian eyewitnesses confirmed the aircraft came from the 
north.  Kulakhmetov then conducted a second monitoring visit 
August 8, and drafted a new report citing witnesses claiming 
the aircraft came from the east.  Georgian peacekeepers 
refused to sign this report.  The Russians took the draft to 
OSCE to sign, but OSCE refused because the Georgians had not 
signed first.  Following this episode, the Georgians refused 
to permit Kulakhmetov to conduct a third monitoring visit 
August 9. 
 
5. (C) Schmidt indicated to us that OSCE was irritated that 
the Russian JPKF had apparently leaked the unapproved second 
report to western media, where it had been portrayed as an 
OSCE report demonstrating that the planes came from the east. 
 Georgian officials have publicly blasted the Russian report, 
with State Minister for Conflict Resolution David Bakradze 
quoted as saying it was "a little spectacle staged by the 
Russian side," based on the alleged testimony of four elderly 
villagers who live outside the zone of conflict -- suggesting 
that the JPKF had violated its mandate in interviewing them. 
 
Comment 
------- 
6. (C) It appears that Kulakhmetov may be scrambling to try 
to undo some of his decisions on August 7, the first day of 
the investigation, especially his decision to sign the report 
quoting witnesses that the planes came from the north.  The 
 
TBILISI 00002012  002 OF 002 
 
 
Georgians have put great public emphasis on that report, 
which is embarrassingly at odds with the current Russian 
position that the aircraft came from the east.  Kulakhmetov 
may be under pressure for other decisions as well: a Georgian 
government insider told Charge August 9 that the Georgians 
believe the Russians may be about to fire Kulakhmentov for 
making a statement to OSCE that the South Ossetians fired a 
rocket at the aircraft thinking it was Georgian.  Reportedly, 
a high-level Russian official went to Tskhinvali August 8 to 
talk to Kulakhmetov with that purpose in mind. 


PERRY

Wikileaks

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