Georgia confirms spy plane shot down

Updated: 2008-04-22 09:53

MOSCOW -- Georgia confirmed Monday that one of its unmanned reconnaissance aircraft was shot down near its breakaway region Abkhazia by a MiG-29 fighter jet, according to reports reaching here.

"The Georgian side has the technical evidence that on April 20 a Russian MiG-29 brought down a drone patrolling the country's airspace," the Itar-Tass news agency cited an air force spokesman of the Caucasus state as saying.

Russia, however, denied the allegation, saying the MiG-29 does not belong to its air force.

"On April 20, when the Georgian aircraft was gunned down, there were no flights, Air Force pilots had a day-off," Russian Air Force Deputy Commander Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

Not a single plane of the Russian Air Force performed flights over the North Caucuses region on that day, he said.

The Abkhaz authority said it destroyed a Georgian reconnaissance aircraft Sunday.

Tbilisi rejected the claim hours later Sunday, saying it was "misinformation and of propaganda nature."

Relations between Russia and Georgia were strained due to Russia's support for the breakaway region as well as Tbilisi's bidfor NATO membership despite Moscow's objection.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours