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30 Sep, 2008 12:24

Russia to Georgia: “Roger. Over and Out”

Russia's Ambassador to Georgia and some twenty diplomats and their families have returned to Moscow from Tbilisi. But the consular and maintenance staff remains in the Georgian capital.

Georgia was quick to cut diplomatic ties with Russia in late August following the conflict in South Ossetia which ended by Russia officially recognizing independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgia also stopped granting tourist visas to the citizens of Russia.

This situation did not last for more than just several days as Georgia declared reestablishment of pre-August rules that allowed Russians to get visa right on Russian-Georgian border and its international airports.

But it was already too late as Russia closed its embassy in Tbilisi on September 3 and stopped issuing any visas whatsoever to Georgians.

“It is not Russia who cut diplomatic ties with Georgia. Georgia did it and it should find a way to mend the ties and bring them back to a natural channel.  But before doing this, Georgian authorities should change the language of confrontation they have been using towards Russia in the last several years, to good neighborly policy,” says Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko.