Georgia today released this amazingly detailed video footage of a Russian MiG fighter shooting down one of its unarmed drones:
Georgian authorities claim that the drone was shot down during an operation over the breakaway region of Abkhazia which is supported, of course, by Russia. Colonel David Nairashvili, commander of Georgia’s air force told reporters:
“On April 20 a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet shot down an unarmed, unmanned air vehicle which was performing basic reconnaissance over Georgian territory.
It’s absolutely illegal for a Russian MiG-29 to be there.”
Naturally, Russia has protested its innocence. A typically robust spokesman for the Russian air force said today:
“Nonsense. What would a Russian jet fighter be doing over Georgian territory?”
Interestingly, no markings are visible on the aircraft – I’m not sure if this is because the MiG was actually unmarked, or if the video’s resolution isn’t good enough to pick out the markings. But Georgian authorities are sure the plane is Russian. The Georgian airforce chief went on to add that:
“The MiG-29 has a distinctive twin-tail marking. It’s a Russian aircraft. Georgia does not possess it, nor do Abkhaz separatists.”
And, moreover, he claims, Georgian radar records show that the plane took off from a base in Abkhazia before shooting down the drone and fleeing across the border into Russia.
Clearly someone shot down the plane. But I wonder – could it have been a training exercise by the Georgian air force – presumably they have a few MiGs still knocking around. Or, does the Abkhazian military have a couple of MiGs under its control, on loan from Russia?
What do you think?