Five European Union foreign ministers are in Georgia to show support for its pro-Western government, as a Georgian-Russian dispute over Moscow's backing for Georgian separatists continues.
The foreign ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden are meeting Monday with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and other top officials. The delegation told reporters Sunday the European delegation would express solidarity with the Tbilisi government and voice support for Georgian sovereignty.
Tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi escalated last month, when then-Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to establish closer ties with separatists in two Georgian breakaway border regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Within days of that order, Georgia accused the Russian military of shooting down one of its unmanned intelligence aircraft over the breakaway republic of Abkhazia.
Moscow also moved to boost its military presence in Abkhazia.
Since then, Abkhazian authorities claimed six more shootdowns, including two downings today. Russia has denied involvement. Georgia denied losing any drones Monday.
Abkhazia and another border region, South Ossetia, declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, sparking fighting and the dispatch of Russian peacekeepers to the regions. Georgia accuses the Russian troops of backing the separatists and has pledged to bring both regions back under central government control.