Georgian forces in upper Kodori Gorge opened fire and shot down an aircraft, the Interior Ministry has confirmed. The incident, reportedly, occurred late on August 23, but the news only broke a day later.
The aircraft type, officials said, was not identified as it had crashed in a remote area. It is also unclear whether it was a Russian or Abkhaz aircraft. Abkhaz forces were holding military maneuvers, involving at least two army helicopters and two aircraft, near the Kodori Gorge at the time.
There are conflicting reports surrounding the incident. A witness speaking via phone from Kodori Gorge to Rustavi 2 TV on August 24, said the aircraft crashed in the Lata gorge in Abkhaz-controlled territory. “Black smoke coming from the crash site is still visible from our territory,” the witness said.
Other reports, however, say that the aircraft crashed in a Georgian-controlled area in upper Kodori Gorge, but it was not possible to reach the crash site because of its remoteness in the mountains.
Aleksander Drobishevsky, an aide to the commander of the Russian air force, has dismissed the reports as “yet another provocation.” The Abkhaz side has also denied it.