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The United Nations Security Council is to hold a closed session
The United Nations Security Council is to hold a closed session on Monday at Georgia's request to discuss an incursion into Georgian airspace by Russian military aircraft, the UN press service said.

Georgia requested the session on July 10, in response to an admission by Russia on the same day that its fighters had flown over the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia two days earlier.

Russia said it had carried out the flights over fears that Georgia could invade the de facto independent republic. Tbilisi called the flights an act of "military aggression," and recalled its ambassador from Moscow.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on a visit to Georgia on the day that Russia admitted the incursion, and said that Moscow should help Georgia resolve conflicts with its breakaway regions rather than exacerbate them, and urged the countries to refrain from violence.

NATO announced on July 15 that it was "concerned" by developments in South Ossetia.

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Hundreds died in the bloody conflict that followed. The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the region, along with Abkhazia, another breakaway republic, back under central control.

Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been the source of rising tensions between Georgia and Russia since Moscow stepped up support for the breakaway republics in April. Recent events have involved explosions and shootouts in Abkhazia as well as the brief arrest of Georgian officers by South Ossetia. A German peace plan for Abkhazia, backed by the EU, was rejected by the Abkhaz leader on Friday.

Moscow's ongoing support for pro-Russian secessionists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is a direct consequence of the West's recognition of Kosovo, which declared unilateral independence from Serbia in February.

Shortly after Kosovo had declared independence, the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament said in a joint statement that, "Now that the situation in Kosovo has become an international precedent, Russia should take into account the Kosovo scenario...when considering ongoing territorial conflicts."

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