Georgia Says it May Have Shot Down Russian Plane

Georgian forces fired on a Russian plane flying over Georgian territory earlier this week, a government official said Friday, claiming residents nearby reported an explosion and forest fire afterward.

Russian military officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the claim, which came amid a heated dispute between the ex-Soviet neighbors over Georgian accusations of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.

"The day before yesterday, at 22:24 hours, a Russian plane was fired at over Upper Abkhazia," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told The Associated Press. He said authorities could not confirm the plane crashed, but that residents of the remote area reported hearing an explosion and seeing forest burning.

Georgia on Wednesday said that a Russian plane had violated its airspace in the same area a day earlier, but officials did not mentioned Wednesday's alleged intrusion until late Friday. Utiashvili said that was because they were still checking information.