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Georgian Defense Minister says Helicopter Safe After Taking Ground Fire

Georgia's defense minister says a military helicopter said to have been shot down over the breakaway region of South Ossetia has in fact returned safely to its base after coming under fire.

Defense Minister Irakly Okruashvili said he and another official were on the helicopter when it was shot at Sunday. He said no one was hurt.

South Ossetian separatist officials earlier said their troops had downed the helicopter, after it failed to respond to "numerous" orders to change course or land.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s. Georgian authorities have vowed to bring the region back under central government control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.