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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 22:14 GMT 23:14 UK
Putin calls for Georgia pressure
Deportation flight returns to Tbilisi
Few of the returnees seemed happy to be back in Georgia
Russia's president has urged Europe's security body to pressure Georgia to "drastically" change its course in dealing with regional disputes.

In a letter to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Vladimir Putin said Georgia wanted to resolve issues by force.

It follows Russia's deportation of about 130 Georgians, amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two states.

Tensions have escalated since Georgia detained four suspected Russian spies.

The four - all military officers - were released to the OSCE on Monday, but Russia has imposed a series of punishing measures against Georgia, including a crackdown on illegal Georgian immigrants.

Police raids

In his letter, Mr Putin accused the authorities in Tbilisi of planning to solve the conflicts between Russia and Georgia over the two troubled Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by force.

Map of Georgia
The president said the OSCE should concentrate on encouraging the Georgian leadership to "drastically change its course".

He went on to say that what he called the irresponsibility of the Georgian authorities could no longer "be ignored" by the international community.

Mr Putin reacted furiously to the officers' detention on 27 September, which at the time he called an "act of state terrorism with hostage-taking".

In the latest reprisal, the deportees were flown back to Georgia on board a Russian cargo plane on Friday.

They were rounded up in police raids over the past few days and accused of immigration offences, according to media reports.

RUSSIAN REPRISALS
Postal and transport links cut between Russia and Georgia
Georgian visa regulations tightened
Crackdown on "illegal" Georgian immigrants

One of the deportees told Georgian television her passport had expired but another said his documents were in order.

The BBC's Matthew Collin at Tbilisi airport said the deportees walked down the ramp from the huge Russian cargo plane carrying whatever possessions they managed to bring with them.

Few seemed happy to be back in Georgia, although one woman knelt down and kissed the ground, he said.

Meanwhile a Russian plane took more Russians out of Georgia, which Moscow says is now unsafe for its citizens.

Last week, some 100 Russian officials and their families in Georgia were ordered by Moscow to return to Russia.

Estimates vary but it is believed that at least one million Georgians live in Russia. Many Georgian families depend on the remittances they send home.

'School lists'

Moscow police have also asked schools to draw up lists of pupils with Georgian surnames as part of their search for illegal immigrants, Russian media reported.

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HAVE YOUR SAY
Why should Russia subsidise Georgia when it fails to consider Russian interests?
Robert, New York

Alexander Gavrilov, a spokesman for the Moscow education department, said some schools had received the request, which he criticised.

But a Russian interior ministry spokesman said no such request had been made.

Tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi have grown since the early 1990s, with Tbilisi accusing Moscow of supporting separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia has accused Georgia of pursuing an anti-Russian foreign policy in seeking closer relations with the West and Nato.


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