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Officials: Russia Begins Deporting Tajiks Amid Diplomatic Row

Tajikistan's imprisonment of two Russian pilots has caused a diplomatic furor.
Officials in Tajikistan say Russia has begun deporting Tajik migrant workers in apparent retaliation for the jailing of two pilots working for a Russian aviation company in the Central Asian country.

Tajikistan's migration service said 11 Tajiks were set to fly out from Moscow on November 15 after authorities ruled they had violated migration rules.

They were among nearly 300 Tajiks detained in recent days.

The move comes after a Tajik court last week found ethnic Russian pilots Vladimir Sadovnichy and Aleksei Rudenko (who is an Estonian citizen) guilty of illegally flying into Tajikistan and smuggling aircraft parts. They were subsequently sentenced them to eight and a half years in prison.

The pair were arrested in Tajikistan in March after landing two cargo planes for refueling while flying from Afghanistan to Moscow. The case has provoked an uproar in Russia.

compiled from agency reports