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U.S.: Georgian Drone Downed ‘Presumably’ by Russian MIG-29
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Apr.'08 / 11:40

The U.S. Department of State said in a statement on April 23 it was “deeply concerned by the shooting down of an unarmed Georgian UAV, by a presumably Russian MiG-29” over breakaway Abkhazia.

Georgia has claimed one of its unmanned reconnaissance aerial vehicles (UAV) was shot down by a Russian fighter jet. Russia denies it was one of its jets. Georgia also said the MIG-29 took off from Gudauta military base in Abkhazia and flew to the Russian Federation after shooting down the drone.

“We reiterate our unwavering support for Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity and are concerned by the presence of a MiG-29 aircraft in Georgian airspace without Georgian authorization, and by the use of weapons from this aircraft in shooting down an unarmed Georgian UAV,” the U.S. Department of State said.

It also reiterated its concern over Russia’s decision “to upgrade relations with the Abkhaz and South Ossetian authorities, which challenge Georgian sovereignty and call into question whether Russia can continue to function as a facilitator toward a solution in the region.”

Russia said its move to boost ties with the two breakaway regions was aimed at “easing” social hardship of residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We agree with the stated goal of Russia and the other members of the Friends of the Secretary General of easing the isolation and poverty of the population in the separatist regions,” the U.S. Department of State said. “This can only be achieved by working closely with the Government of Georgia, which has responsibility for the well-being of the people living on its territory.”

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