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Georgians arriving in Tbilisi on Russian plane on October 6 (epa) October 9, 2006 -- Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili says the airport in Tbilisi will no longer accept Russian cargo planes carrying Georgian deportees.


Last week, Russia deported more than 130 Georgians for alleged illegal immigration in the fallout from a spying row.

They were flown to Georgia in an Emergency Situations Ministry plane as Russia has severed all transport links with Georgia.

In televised comments late on October 8, Saakashvili said the deportees should be transported in passenger planes, not in "cattle carts," adding on October 9 that Georgia is considering bringing a case against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia imposed a series of measures against Georgians and began a crackdown on alleged illegal Georgian immigrants despite the release by Georgian authorities of four Russian soldiers accused of spying.

Also on October 8, Saakashvili said he was willing to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin "anytime" to defuse the row.


(Rustavi-2, AP)

Moscow And Tbilisi

Russian military hardware being withdrawn from a Russian base in Batumi, Georgia, in August 2005 (TASS)

WHAT COMES NEXT? Although Russia is unlikely to push an aggressive military response to the current tensions with Georgia, it has a number of economic, political, and diplomatic options at its disposal. Already on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his inner circle to weigh Moscow's options... (more)


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MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


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