TBILISI, Georgia – An unmanned Russian spy plane crashed and exploded Monday near the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia, killing two soldiers and wounding eight, Georgian officials said.
Russia's Defense Ministry denied the report, calling it a "provocation," according to Russian news agencies.
Tensions remain high in regions near South Ossetia where Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August. Moscow has recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another separatist province, Abkhazia.
Two Georgian military combat engineers were killed when they approached the fallen drone near the northern village of Plavi and it exploded, Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. Eight people, including seven other soldiers and a 10-year-old child, were wounded in the blast, he said.
South Ossetian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Before the war, Abkhazia claimed to have shot down at least five Georgian reconnaissance drones. Georgia alleged Russian air force jets shot down the planes, in violation of Georgian airspace and cease-fire agreements.