Tbilisi, 30 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia's Foreign Ministry released a statement today demanding that Russia stop bombing areas in Georgia's northern Pankisi Gorge, known to be a hide-out for Chechen separatists. Bombing was reported last night in a Georgian area bordering Chechnya, the second time in two days bombing was reported there.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry statement said there was "reason to conclude that certain political forces in the Russian Federation...are trying to seriously escalate tensions in our relations."
Russian troops are currently fighting a group of some 60 Chechen separatists in southern Chechnya near the Georgian border. The Russian military says they entered from the Pankisi Gorge. The Russian military confirms bombing strikes against the separatists in Chechnya but denies any attacks directed against suspected separatists on Georgian territory.