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10 May, 2008 08:41

Abkhazia claims another Georgian spy plane

A U.S. delegation is in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia to discuss settling the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. The visit comes amid claims by Abkhazia that it shot down another Georgian unmanned spy plane on Thursday. Tbilisi has denied the report, c

On Friday, Abkhazia has shown what it claims to be the wreckage of a Georgian spy plane.

It says the unmanned aircraft flying over the Gali region on May 8, was carrying an air-to-air missile which posed a threat both to the Abkhazian population and peacekeeping forces.

Georgia calls these reports a provocation. It has refuted its drone has been downed, and Mikhail Saakashvili announced that his country will continue reconnaissance flights in Abkhazia.

The region declared independence from Georgia in the early 90s, which resulted in an armed conflict.

Since then, Russian peacekeepers and UN observers have been stationed there. They remain the only forces that separate the conflicting sides.

Georgia has recently increased its military presence in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge, and Abkhazian and Russian authorities claimed it is preparing for an offensive to take control of the breakaway republic by force.

As a result, Russia has sent additional peacekeeping forces to the region.

Tbilisi was angered by the move, but said it doesn’t want a conflict.

Nevertheless, it all may give a boost to a new info war and a republic living off its resorts fears the info war may scare away hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists.