Russia denies bombing Georgia’s civil airport (Lead)

August 11th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 11 (Xinhua) Russia has denied reports that its air force bombed the international airport in Georgian capital Tbilisi amid protests across the south Caucasus country against the strikes. It was a “disinformation campaign” by Georgia to divert the attention of the international community about events in South Ossetia, Interfax news agency quoted a Russian defence ministry spokesman as saying Sunday.

Earlier reports have said the Russian air force had bombed a civilian international airport in Tbilisi as well as a military airstrip in a suburb of the city.

Georgian troops Friday began a military action against South Ossetia’s forces in an attempt to re-establish control over the region.

In response, Russian troops moved into the region, and after four days of fighting took control of the provincial capital Tskhinvali as Tbilisi announced a unilateral ceasefire.

About 3,000 people Sunday gathered in the streets of Tbilisi in support of the Georgian military, eyewitnesses said. Supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili waved the country’s flag and carried signs reading “Stop Russia”.

Even as the withdrawal of Georgian forces from Tskhinvali was confirmed by the Russian military, there were reports of sporadic fighting including the sinking of several Georgian warships and an attack by Russian jets on Tbilisi’s airport.

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