May 26, 2008
A Russian air force plane was responsible for shooting down an unmanned Georgian spy drone on April 20, the United Nations monitoring mission in Georgia said in a report released on Monday.
The report said radar records showed the aircraft headed into Russian airspace after shooting down the Georgian plane over Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia.
“Absent compelling evidence to the contrary, this leads to the conclusion that the aircraft belonged to the Russian air force,” the UN report said.
Russia has denied any involvement in downing the spy plane, saying it was shot down by anti-aircraft batteries operated by Abkhazia’s separatist administration.
Georgia’s pro-Western leadership, which was already in dispute with Moscow over its bid to join NATO and the status of two Moscow-backed separatist regions, called the downing of the aircraft an “act of international aggression.”
Georgian officials last month released a video, recorded by the spy plane’s onboard camera before it was shot down, which showed a fighter plane approaching it and then launching a missile in its direction.