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12 May, 2008 23:13

Abkhazia downs two more Georgian spy planes

Two more unmanned drones have been hit over Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia, according to the republic's Defence Minister. Georgia denies the claims, saying none of its drones have flown over the territory during the last few days.

Abkhazian Foreign Minister, Sergey Shamba, confirmed two unmanned drones have been hit today “over territory of the breakaway republic not far from the unofficial border between Georgia and Abkhazia”.

“The remains will soon be found and displayed as a testimony of the breach. Big pieces were seen falling from the sky in the area,” he said.

It brings to seven the number of Georgian spy jets that have been reportedly shot down after breaching the unofficial border with Abkhazia.

Tension grew as Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili claimed two weeks ago that drones will continue to fly over the region.

Georgia's relations with Moscow have deteriorated following Georgian claims a Russian plane shot down one of its unmanned jets in April.

Russia denied the allegations and provided evidence to the UN that it was not involved in the incident.  Moscow accused Tbilisi of stirring up tension.

So far, it's the only drone incident that Georgia has acknowledged. Now Saakashvili is demanding that the EU investigate it.

“We also ask to investigate illegal movements of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone. We want the EU to be more actively involved in settling the issue. It’s evident that Russia is not a legitimate participant in the settling process as it is a side in the conflict,” he added.   

Meanwhile, according to Abkhazia’s Defence Ministry, all the shot down planes were Israeli made Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles, which Georgia bought between 2006 and 2008.

President Saakashvili has said Georgia bought 40 such drones.