Report: Another Georgian plane shot down over Abkhazia

Updated: 2008-05-09 09:39

MOSCOW -- Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia said on Thursday debris of a Georgian unmanned spy plane, which was shot down earlier in the day over the territory of Abkhazia, has been discovered, news agencies reported.

The discovered fragments match the model series of the other four Georgian spy planes that Abkhazia shot down this year, RIA Novosti quoted an Abkhaz defense official as saying.

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"We shot down another (Georgian) drone over the village of Gudava in the Ochamchir district at about 17:10 Moscow time (1310 GMT)," the official said.

However, the claim is rejected by Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili. "I have just spoken with the (Georgian) defense minister," Saakashvili said. "Nothing has been shot down."

The Georgian Foreign Ministry called Abkhazia's claims "absurd," and said they were aimed at escalating tensions in the region.

This is the fifth Georgian spy planes Abkhazia claims to have brought down since the beginning of spring this year.

Separatists in Abkhazia self-proclaimed independence after bloody conflicts with Georgian government forces in the 1990s and an uneasy cease-fire was monitored by peacekeepers from Russia.

Tensions between Russia and Georgia were escalating due to Russia's increasing supports to Abkhazia and Tbilisi's bid for NATO membership.

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