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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko was summoned to the country's
Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko was summoned to the country's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday over the shooting down of a spy plane in a Georgian rebel region in April, the ministry said.

"At 12.00 p.m. Moscow time [08.00 GMT], Deputy Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze summoned the Russian ambassador to the Georgian Foreign Ministry over the report by the United Nations observer mission in Georgia on the April 20 incident," a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi said.

The UN report released on Monday, based on video footage and radar records, confirmed Georgia's earlier claims that on April 20 the Russian Air Force shot down a Georgian drone over Abkhazia. Russia's Defense Ministry has rejected the report.

Authorities in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia say they have downed seven Georgian drones since March, but Tbilisi has officially confirmed the destruction of only one of them, on April 20.

In response to the UN report, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba told RIA Novosti that the province could pull out of UN-brokered peace talks with Georgia.

Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's press service, said: "No violation of the state border with Georgia, let alone the downing of an unmanned reconnaissance plane, took place."

He said Russian Air Force planes did not approach the Georgian border on April 20.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been consistently strained since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in Georgia four years ago, being damaged by numerous disputes, most recently over Russia's moves to develop closer ties with Georgia's two breakaway regions.


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