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Georgia says Russia downed spy plane

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Bloomberg reports that the downed spy plane was flying over Abkhazia, a state seeking independence that fought a civil war against Georgia in the 1990s and maintains close ties with Moscow. Mr. Saakashvili said Monday he had telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked him to end attacks on Georgian territory and to stop his backing for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another breakaway state.

Russia has denied that it shot down the spy plane. Last week, Mr. Putin ordered his government to protect the "rights, freedoms, and lawful interests" of Russians living in the two disputed territories. Georgia views this as a step toward annexation, and some Western governments have criticized the move. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she had called her Russian counterpart to express concern over tensions with Georgia and said the US was "absolutely committed" to Georgia's territorial integrity, Xinhua reported.

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