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Published:August 24th, 2007 14:17 EST
Russian plane shot down in Abkhazia

Russian plane shot down in Abkhazia

By SOP newswire

The Georgian Rustavi-2 television channel has reported that two local residents claimed the military plane had crashed somewhere in the mountain region. They said the plane had fallen in the remote area of the Gorge.

Shota Utiashvili, the head of the Analytical Department of Georgia`s Interior Ministry, said that on Wednesday Georgian forces opened fire on a military plane, which consequently crashed.

"On August 22, an unidentified aircraft has entered Georgian airspace in Kodori valley. Georgian Air Defence Forces opened fire and in a while the population reported hearing a crash and seeing a flash and fire. Right now there is still fire at the place. We do not know whether it is a plane or not, but we know for sure that it was a hostile plane that we opened fire at. It is too early to speak about an investigation, first we need to see what is there. We make sure it is a plane and then we will, of course, launch an investigation. The experts will work at the place in order to determine what is there," Shota Utiashvili explained.

Although the reports about the crashed plane only surfaced on Friday, on Wednesday Georgian authorities said that they had radar evidence of a Russian plane that violated Georgian air space.

This was immediately firmly denied by Russia, and on Friday night Russian senior Air Force officials said that at the time when the incident allegedly took place all Russian planes were at bases and all Russian pilots in the area were resting. They described the incident as a provocation.

Meanwhile, Abkhazian authorities have not confirmed the reports.

TV-Novosti