(dpa) - Russia on Tuesday accused ex-Soviet republic of Georgia with violating a United Nations ceasefire by piloting a spy plane over its rebel region of Abkhazia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry's declaration escalated the tit-for- tat charges since Georgia claimed Russia had shot down its unmanned reconnaissance jet on Sunday in "an unprovoked act of aggression."
Moscow countered that the drone had been shot down by separatist forces in Abkhazia.
"The flight by the reconnaissance plane ... was a violation of the Moscow agreement on the ceasefire of May 14, 1994, and of the corresponding resolutions by the UN Security Council on the mandate of the UN observer mission in Georgia," the foreign ministry added.
The allegations exploded quickly between the two capitals whose relations are on knife edge over Georgia's ambitions to join NATO and Moscow's support for Georgia's two breakaway regions.
The incident recalled a flame in tensions when a missile fell, without detonating, in a Georgian potato field and Tbilisi accused its neighbour of launching an unprovoked airstrike.
Then and now Russian newspapers posed that the Georgian had orchestrated the event to distract from internal politics and lobby international support.
" Georgia has again tried to shift the blame for its own internal headache. ... and again it is Georgia's military spearheading this campaign," state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta wrote Tuesday.
Another state-owned daily Izvestia echoed: "the Georgian authorities once again are blaming Moscow for all their misfortunes."
Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda went further, saying Georgia had concocted the charges as punishment for Russia's recent move to tighten diplomatic ties and lift embargoes with the rebel regions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern Tuesday by phone with his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili.
Putin felt scandalized that "the Georgian side is sanctioning military flights over the conflict zone," according to the Kremlin press service.
Saakashvili, meanwhile, said he had demanded of Putin that Russia should halt its support for rebels and "attacks on Georgia," the Intefax news agency reported.
In an earlier televised address, the Georgian leader claimed that Tbilisi had video footage from the drone proving that a Russian Mig- 29 had taken it down "an unprovoked act of aggression" on Sunday.
The UN Security Council prepared a closed meeting Wednesday with Georgia's foreign minister to review the conflicting claims over the attacks in the conflict zone.
Georgia, after first denying that it owned reconnaissance aircraft that could have flown Sunday's mission, made a statement saying one of its "unmanned aerial crafts" was attacked while "conducting routine surveillance above the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia."
Georgia's foreign ministry last week charged Russia with plotting to "annex" its separatist in response to Moscow's stronger ties with both self-governing areas in recent months.
Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in the breakaway regions since 1993. The two regions have long looked to Moscow for support in their appeal for independence and a majority of residents have been issued with Russian passports in recent years.
Russia officially respects Georgia's territorial integrity but has warned that Kosovo's independence from Serbia could serve as a precedent and has stepped up ties, lifting trade restriction against both regions.