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UN Security Council to discuss Russian-Georgian dispute

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday on Georgia's request, to discuss accusations of Russian aggression in Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian region.

The latest dispute over the province, one of two regions that Tbilisi says Russia is trying to annex, was fueled on Monday when Georgia said a Russian fighter jet shot down an unmanned reconnaissance plane in Georgian airspace. Russia's Air Force denies the allegation.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters in New York on Monday: "I can assure you that at this meeting we will have a thing or two to say about the latest unconstructive, and at times provocative actions from the Georgian side."

The meeting of the Security Council, on which Russia holds a permanent seat, will be held behind closed doors on Wednesday afternoon, the envoy said.

The meeting was requested last week by Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze, who said Russia's plans to give legal status to companies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to cooperate with their governments were "an attempt to annex two Georgian regions."

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili during a phone conversation on Monday that the planned measures do not contravene international law and are aimed at improving the socioeconomic situation in the regions.

Putin also said Georgian reconnaissance flights over Abkhazia run counter to a 1994 ceasefire agreement.

Russia's ambassador to Georgia was summoned to the Georgian Foreign Ministry and given a protest note over Sunday's incident in Abkhazia. Georgia claims that a MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter from the Gudauta military base in Abkhazia shot down a Georgian drone.

Saakashvili said in a national TV broadcast yesterday evening that the Georgian side has proof the incident took place.

"For the first time in the last few years, after repeated incidents of Russia violating Georgia's airspace and acts of aggression, we have video footage of a Russian attack aircraft bombing Georgian territory."

RIA Novosti

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