On 21 April, 2008, A Russian MiG-29 downed a Georgian UAV. The Georgian aircraft was an Isreali built Hermes 450.
At first everyone opened with a lie.
The ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a Russian air force representative, who claims a MIG-29 fighter would never be used to destroy an unmanned plane.
According to Georgia, one of its unmanned planes was on a regular reconnaissance flight when it was attacked by a Russian fighter jet.
Georgia had previously denied all involvement, claiming they hadn’t sent a plane to the area. Abkhazia says Georgia’s statement acknowledging the flight is tantamount to an admission of spying.
A video released by the Georgians clearly shows a MiG-29 sliding into the UAV’s six o’clock position and hosing it with an air to air missile.
The video was released on 23 April by the Georgian U.N. delegation during a meeting of the Security Council. Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin labeled the drone flight as provocative and noted that Abkhazia claims to have shot down the drone. The U.N. Security Council debated the crisis behind closed doors and has not released any information.
The Abakhazian Air Force doesn’t field a MiG-29 but does have the Su-27.
The United States expressed concern on Wednesday over the shooting down of a pilotless Georgian reconnaissance drone and reaffirmed its support for Georgia as it grapples with Russia over the rebel territory. Abkhazia announced it’s independence from Georgia in 1992.
The Russian foreign ministry also said that the presence of the drone violated UN ceasefire agreements.
Russian and UN peacekeepers have been deployed in the two regions since the early 1990s, when violence erupted as they broke free from Georgian control.
Russia has asserted that it is not seeking to inflame the situation but to try and protect the rights and legal interests of Russian citizens who make up the majority of the population in the two regions.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement:
“The United States is deeply concerned by the shooting down of an unarmed Georgian UAV, by a presumably Russian MiG-29, over the Abkhazia region of Georgia on April 20.” McCormack added that Washington was “concerned by the presence of a MiG-29 aircraft in Georgian airspace without Georgian authorization, and by the use of weapons from this aircraft in shooting down an unarmed Georgian UAV.”
In a show of support earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze at the State Department.
Before the meeting, Secretary Rice was quoted as saying:
“Our commitment to Georgia and to its territorial integrity is firm.”
After meeting Georgia’s foreign minister, Ms Rice said the US was “very concerned” by Russia’s actions.
Confused yet? Stay tuned for details as this crisis unfolds. The Lucky Puppy Forum has been reporting on Russian bombers challenging NATO aircraft on “routine patrols”. Putin has been has been flexing Russian military power in a clear attempt to reassert Russia as a global superpower. Is this a blatant example of it?