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Georgia Says Crashed Russian Drone Kills Two

TBILISI (Reuters) -- Georgia's Interior Ministry has said two police officers were killed when a Russian unmanned reconnaissance drone exploded after coming down near a Georgian village, but Russia denied involvement.

"Today at approximately 15:00 (1100 GMT), Georgia's sovereign airspace was violated by a Russian unpiloted reconnaissance drone which fell on the territory of the village of Plavi, in the Shida Kartli region," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"Two police officers of the Georgian Interior Ministry...died as a result of the explosion of the unmanned aerial vehicle, which occurred shortly after the police unit arrived," it said.

The statement said eight police officers and a 10-year-old boy were hurt in the blast.

Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman as saying the Georgian claims were absolutely untrue. "This is another media provocation from the Georgian leadership," it quoted the spokesman as saying.

Plavi is close to Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, which was the focus of a war in August between Russia and Georgia.

Moscow mounted a massive counterattack after Tbilisi's forces tried to retake Moscow-backed South Ossetia.

Western states condemned Russia's actions as disproportionate but Moscow said Tbilisi was the aggressor. It said it had been morally obliged to intervene to prevent local people being wiped out by Georgian troops.