(AP) - The U.N. Security Council started a closed-door meeting to discuss Georgia's claims of Russian military aggression in the breakaway region of Abkhazia.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated over two breakaway regions in Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - which have close ties to Moscow and have been independently run since the early 1990s when fighting with Georgian troops ended.
Georgia claimed a Russian fighter jet shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane Sunday as it flew over Abkhazia and last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to increase cooperation with the separatist authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the council discussed Georgia's request for an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon that "we did not object to having a meeting ... and we'll have things to say at that meeting as well."
Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze is expected to attend the council meeting. Churkin said he reminded the council of the need to hear the views of the Abkhazian side "and we will continue to work having them invited to speak to the council."
Moscow has granted the vast majority of the region's residents Russian citizenship, and recently lifted 12-year-old trade sanctions against Abkhazia. Russian officials have warned that Georgia will have to abandon its claims on the regions if it joins NATO.
NATO declined to offer Georgia a road map for membership at a summit earlier this month, but assured pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili that his nation will eventually join the alliance.
Georgia's U.N. Ambassador Irakli Alasania said Putin's order on April 16 launching full-scale cooperation and formalizing its relations with Abkhazia motivates the separatists "to completely withdraw" from the negotiation process.
"We witness a new dangerous reality," Alasania said. "The Russian Federation is legitimizing annexation of Abkhazia and ... South Ossetia - integral parts of the internationally recognized territory of Georgia."
Alasania said the latest Russian actions and separatist threats forced Georgia to use unarmed capabilities to collect intelligence data "on our sovereign territory" - and on Sunday "Russian military aircraft intruded Georgian airspace above Abkhazia" and shot down an unarmed vehicle.
Alasinia called on the U.N. military observer mission in Georgia to expand its monitoring capabilities "with emphasis on detection of any military activities on Abkhazian segment of Georgian-Russian border."