07TBILISI2062, GEORGIA MISSILE INVESTIGATION UPDATE — AUGUST 15

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2062 2007-08-15 13:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1050
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2062/01 2271312
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151312Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7327
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA IMMEDIATE 0023
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 0077
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA IMMEDIATE 0014
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0013
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA IMMEDIATE 0008
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 0013
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 0009
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 0010

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002062 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA MISSILE INVESTIGATION UPDATE -- AUGUST 15 
 
REF: TBILISI 2025 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) International experts have completed a preliminary 
report on the August 6 missile incident.  Key conclusions 
are: the aircraft entered Georgian airspace from Russia, and 
the Georgian Air Force does not possess aircraft capable of 
firing this type of missile or of flying the profile flown by 
the intruding aircraft.  The expert team and Georgian 
officials briefed the diplomatic community on the report 
August 15.  Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia 
said Georgia continues to encourage countries to send experts 
to review the report and the evidence.  He announced that 
Estonian and British experts would arrive soon.  Kutelia said 
Georgia would meet with Russian investigators, but would not 
agree to a bilateral Russian-Georgian investigation.  End 
Summary. 
 
The Plane Came from Russia 
-------------------------- 
2. (SBU) Following three days of work investigating the 
incident, the international group of experts (reftel), led by 
a Swede and consisting of members from Sweden, Latvia, 
Lithuania, and the U.S., presented an initial report to the 
Georgian Ministry of Defense.  The report contained the 
following key findings: 
 
-- On three occasions August 6, one unidentified aircraft 
from Russia flew into Georgian airspace, making one short and 
then two deeper incursions, the latter lasting approximately 
eleven minutes each. 
 
-- The missile that impacted near Tsitelubani -- which did 
not explode but which had burn marks on the rocket motor 
nozzle -- was a Russian-designed Kh-58 (or AS-11 Kilter) 
anti-radiation missile. 
 
-- Several eyewitnesses saw an aircraft in the area of 
impact, and some saw an object leaving the aircraft with a 
trail of smoke.  Radar information of the third pass into 
Georgian territory indicates an object separating from the 
aircraft. 
 
-- The Georgian Air Force does not possess aircraft equipped 
with or able to launch Kh-58 missiles, nor does it have 
aircraft able to fly the profile flown by the intruding 
aircraft. 
 
-- The expert group was not able to identify the aircraft 
type or origin, or to verify reports of a second impact or a 
MANPAD being fired at the aircraft. 
 
Getting the Facts Out 
--------------------- 
3. (C) The Georgian government distributed the report to 
diplomatic representatives at a briefing August 15.  Kutelia 
explained that the purpose of the briefing was to share the 
report with diplomats who could then share it with their 
capitals, to answer questions and to get comments and 
suggestions.  In the absence of the Swedish chair of the 
group (who had already left Tbilisi) the U.S. team leader led 
the presentation, inviting comments from other group members. 
 He focused on the facts established in the report, avoiding 
conjecture, and the audience appeared to accept the report as 
professional and credible. 
 
4. (C) Kutelia said the Georgian government had not decided 
when to make the report public, but noted it would be soon. 
He said the report sufficiently answers the important 
questions, and the Georgian public and the international 
community are eager to receive the information.  He said 
Georgia continues to encourage countries to send experts to 
review the report, evaluate the evidence, and either sign or 
adjust the report as they believe appropriate.  Kutelia 
announced that an Estonian expert would arrive August 15 and 
an expert from the U.K. would arrive August 17.  Asked 
whether the report should be seen as an interim report or 
not, Kutelia responded that the Georgian government sees this 
as the expert group's official report, but the document 
 
TBILISI 00002062  002 OF 002 
 
 
remains open for others to review and sign. 
 
Russian Machinations 
-------------------- 
5. (C) Kutelia said Russia had requested permission for a 
flight of Russian experts to come to Georgia for a joint 
investigation.  He said the Georgians would let them come and 
welcome the bilateral consultations, but clarified that this 
would not be a bilateral investigation.  He stressed that 
Georgia has already sent all of its evidence to the Russians 
but has received no response to Georgia's request for Russia 
to share its evidence. 
 
6. (C) Following the briefing, Charge asked Kutelia why the 
Georgian government had decided to release the report so 
quickly, causing ambiguity about whether the international 
group would continue to meet and whether there would be 
another, final report.  Kutelia said the Georgians felt 
compelled to release the report now for two reasons: because &#
x000A;the Swedes had already sent it to EU capitals, and because 
the Georgians are worried about Russian machinations and 
wanted to get the report out as quickly as they could.  He 
emphasized that the Georgians' strategy is to keep the report 
open and active while welcoming other experts, governments, 
or international organizations to review it and lend their 
weight to it. 
 
7. (C) Georgian concerns about Russian efforts to conduct a 
separate investigation and to promote alternative alleged 
conclusions are nothing new.  According to a letter from 
Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution to the U.S. 
Ambassador, on August 8 "high-level military circles in 
Russia...parachuted a special team of the Military 
Prosecutor's Office," headed by Eduard Grikorov, into 
Tskhinvali to pressure the Russian commander of the Joint 
 
SIPDIS 
Peacekeeping Force (JPKF) to collect and disseminate false 
information to undermine the conclusions (which the Georgians 
consider "professional") of the August 7 JPKF investigation. 
Georgian officials are also aware of the many reports in 
Russian media pitching theories that Georgia is behind the 
incident, often based on specific but false details, such as 
that the Georgians destroyed the missile (they in fact 
detonated only the warhead for safety reasons) or on alleged 
witnesses whom the JPKF found August 8 to dispute the August 
7 accounts that the aircraft came from the north. 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks

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