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  Monday, November 23, 2020
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The Georgian Foreign Ministry sent Monday a request
The Georgian Foreign Ministry sent Monday a request to a UN official in Tbilisi to investigate claims by its breakaway republic of Abkhazia that two Georgian surveillance drones had been downed.

Abkhazia said on May 4 that it had shot down two Georgian surveillance drones over its territory. Tbilisi dismissed the allegations as "absurd," claiming that the unrecognized republic was attempting to escalate tensions in the region.

The Georgian ministry sent a written request to the UN special representative for Georgia, Jean Arnault, to launch an investigation into Abkhazia's claims.

Tbilisi has said, however, it will continue to conduct reconnaissance flights in the region to gather intelligence on "Russia's military intervention."

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have drastically deteriorated since Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin called for closer ties between Moscow and the two Georgian breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in mid-April.

Moscow has increased the number of Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia to 3,000 from 2,000, but said the rise was within the limits of agreements on troop numbers signed by the Georgian leadership.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Georgia was to blame for fueling tensions in the conflict-stricken region by conducting reconnaissance flights over Abkhazian territory.

Abkhazia, along with South Ossetia, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and some 3,000 in the Georgian-South Ossetian hostilities. Georgia is looking to regain control over the two de facto independent republics.

Tbilisi also accused Russia of shooting down an unmanned reconnaissance plane on April 20 - a claim Russia flatly denied, calling Georgia's video footage fake.


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