Ukrainian officials on Friday denied Russian accusations that Ukraine provided weapons to Georgia during the August war with Russia and that its military personnel operated some of the weapons during the conflict.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made the charge Thursday, calling it "a crime" that this former Soviet republic helped Georgia during the fighting. The Russian military had said previously that anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Ukraine shot down four Russian warplanes.

The governments of both Ukraine and Georgia, which also is a former Soviet state, have angered the Kremlin by moving closer to the West and seeking membership in NATO.

Ukraine is a top supplier of weapons to Georgia. But the head of its state arms export company, Ukrspetsexport, said no arms were sold during the war, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Not a single bullet" was supplied to Georgia during the conflict, the report quoted the official, Sergei Bondarchuk, as saying.

Ukrspetsexport declined to comment on Interfax`s report.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, meanwhile, denied that Ukraine`s military personnel fought on the side of Georgia.

In a statement on his Internet site, Yekhanurov said 21 Ukrainian soldiers were in Georgia for military drills when the war started but they immediately headed to the capital, Tbilisi, arriving there the next day. They were then quickly flown out of Georgia, he said.

Yekhanurov said Ukraine has sold weapons to both Georgia and Russia in the past. About a quarter of Ukrainian arms exports go to Russia, he said.

AP