UN's Georgia spy plane probe "unreliable" : Russia

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Moscow, May 28 (UNI) Russia has said it did not have confidence in a UN probe into Georgia's allegations that a Russian aircraft shot down an unmanned reconnaissance plane last month as it was based on unreliable evidence.

"The quality of the enquiries is questionable in general," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. "A whole range of conclusions in the UN report raises questions.

We do not doubt the UN experts' professionalism, but have no confidence in the evidence provided - video footage and some radar recordings," the statement noted Georgia chose not to "risk" handing over the footage to Russia for studies and Georgian radar recordings did not correspond to Russian data, it said. Russia demanded further investigations into the claims.

"We hope the truth will be established regarding the April 20 incident," the statement said.

The UN mission in Georgia confirmed in a report on Monday the former Soviet republic's claims that a reconnaissance drone had been shot down by the Russian Air Force over the breakaway region of Abkhazia on April 20. Speaking in Denmark on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also expressed doubt on the reliability of the video recording.

"What Russian experts could make from the footage shown on Georgian television raises numerous questions," RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying."We publicly asked those questions several weeks ago, but have received no answers," he pointed out.

Following the UN report, Tbilisi demanded on Tuesday that Russia give an official apology and pay compensation for the downing of the spy plane. Georgia called the downing an act of aggression, the assessment hared by some Western countries.

Abkhazia and Georgia's other breakaway republic South Ossetia, have been a source of tensions between the former Soviet allies, with Tbilisi accusing Moscow of backing separatism on its sovereign territory. Tensions have also been fueled by Georgia's plans to join NATO.

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