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Georgia 'finds fallen Russian spy drone'

RIA Novosti

01/10/2008 17:10 TBILISI, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Georgian Interior Ministry official said on Wednesday that a Russian unmanned plane fell into Georgian territory on Tuesday while conducting a reconnaissance flight.

Shota Utiashvili, head of the ministry's analytical department, said the reconnaissance drone was equipped with a camera and that specialists have already decoded the footage. The Russian military has not yet commented on the report.

"The drone was taking photographs of Georgian troops' positions," Utiashvili said, while stressing that Georgia did not force the plane down.

Last week the Georgia said its military had shot down a Russian reconnaissance drone flying on the morning of September 22 near the town of Gori. Russia denied the report.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war last month after the Caucasus state's offensive to retake breakaway South Ossetia. Moscow subsequently recognized the republic along with another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent states, and Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow.

Russian troops continue to hold positions inside undisputed Georgian territory. They are due to withdraw from the buffer zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia by October 10 under a pullback deal signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

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