TBILISI (Armenpress)–A helicopter carrying UN military observers has been shot down in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.
The Mi-8 helicopter was seen exploding 15 minutes after it had left the airport at Abkhazian’s capital Sukhumi. It had been on an inspection flight to the Kodori gorge carrying up to six UN observers and three crew members.
The UN observers were deployed on the separation line between Georgia and Abkhazia–which declared its independence from Georgia in 1991–driving out government forces in 1993. Russia has a peacekeeping force in the area.
The Georgian Prime News Agency quoted an independent Georgian expert Irakli Aladashvili saying that UN Mission’s helicopter could have been shot down by portable anti-aircraft-rocket complexes like Strela-2M (Arrow)–Strela-3M or Igla (Needle)–which can hit targets at a height of 3.5 kilometers.