Russia has launched the economic blockade of Georgia. The Russian Federation has already suspended the transport and mail communication with Georgia. In the meantime, the Georgian authorities said that they intended to deliver the four arrested Russian officers to the OSCE.
Furthermore, the unrecognized republic of Abkhazia has cut all negotiations procedures with Georgia until all Georgian military men are withdrawn from Abkhazia’s Kodori Gorge. Another unrecognized republic, South Ossetia, followed Abkhazia’s example and ceased negotiations with Georgia.
The head of the OSCE was expected later Monday in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, as Georgia's Western allies stepped up efforts to resolve the spiraling dispute between Tbilisi and Moscow, sparked by last week's arrest of the four Russian officers on spying charges.
"Today, after the briefing of the OSCE chairman and the Georgian president ... the four Russian military officers who were detained will be transferred to (the care of) OSCE representatives," presidential spokesman Vano Noniashvili said.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the OSCE, was expected to meet with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. De Gucht has been in contact in recent days with the Georgian leader, Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili said in his interview to Western reporters that he did not consider a military threat from Russia serious. Mr. Saakashvili said that Putin overreacted when he released such a statement.
On Sunday President Putin accused the Georgian administration of terrorist and hostage-taking activities. The Russian president stated that Georgia’s home and foreign politics was similar to that conducted by KGB during Stalin’s times. To crown it all, Putin claimed that the Georgian administration was being sponsored from abroad.
The president of Georgia responded that Russia had become a hostage of its own propaganda. Mikhail Saakashvili rejected a possibility of war with Russia. “The Russians are not so irrational to use the military force against Georgia,” said he.
The commander of Russian military forces in Georgia said his troops had been put on high alert and ordered to shoot to kill to defend their bases, the AP says.
Moscow responded to the arrests last week by recalling its ambassador and evacuating its citizens, with some senior pro-Kremlin lawmakers urging stronger measures.
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