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Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 22:37 UK

Russia 'shot down its own planes'

Russian airstrike in northern Georgian town of Gori.  9.8.08
Russian jets carried out airstrikes against targets in northern Georgia

A report in a Russian military journal claims that half the planes Russia lost in its war with Georgia last year were shot down by friendly fire.

The article, in the Moscow Defence Brief magazine, also claims that Russia lost a total of six military aircraft, two more than it is admitting to.

The report is highly critical of Russian forces during the brief war.

But a senior Russian military official said the information contained in the report was incorrect.

Interfax news agency quoted deputy chief of the General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn as saying Russia had already provided full information about losses during the conflict with Georgia and there was nothing to add to this.

"Regarding insinuations that Russian air force planes were shot down by our own air defences, these also bear no relation to the truth," he added.

Russian air force officials have always claimed that four planes were lost during the five-day war last August.

'No co-operation'

The report was written by the respected Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategy and Technology (Cast).

Cast gives detailed information about each of the losses, including times, locations and the names of the pilots.

It is also highly critical of the Russian military.

It says there was a total absence of co-operation between the Russian army and the Russian air force, which led them to conduct completely separate campaigns.

Russian forces easily overwhelmed Georgian troops during the brief war.

But the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says losses sustained by the Russian side in just five days have led analysts here to question how Russian troops would fare against a bigger, better-equipped and better-trained enemy.



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