Archive for Saturday, August 25, 2007

Forces fired at Russian plane over territory

August 25, 2007

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— Georgian forces fired on a Russian plane flying over Georgian territory earlier this week, a government official said Friday, claiming residents nearby reported an explosion and fire afterward. Russia immediately denied the claim.

The dispute came amid heated disagreement between the ex-Soviet neighbors over Georgian accusations of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.

"The day before yesterday, at 22:24 hours, a Russian plane was fired at over Upper Abkhazia," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told The Associated Press. He stressed that Georgian authorities could not confirm the plane crashed, but said residents of the remote area reported hearing an explosion and seeing forest land burning.

Russia's Defense Ministry said no Russian military planes were flying in the area at the time, RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

Georgia on Wednesday said a Russian plane had violated its airspace in the same area a day earlier, but officials did not mention firing on a Russian plane until late Friday. Utiashvili said that was because they were still checking information.

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