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  Monday, August 26, 2019
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Second plane carrying 180 Georgians deported from Russia over alleged immigration-law violations has arrived in Tbilisi
A second plane carrying 180 Georgians deported from Russia over alleged immigration-law violations has arrived in Tbilisi, the airport's press service said Friday. It is the second of two Russian Emergency Situations Ministry planes that will also take to Moscow Russians who have asked the consulate in Georgia to help them leave the South Caucasus country as bilateral relations continue to deteriorate after an "espionage" scandal last week. Tensions between Russia and Georgia escalated after four Russian officers were charged in Tbilisi with spying. Although the officers were released Monday and returned to their homeland, Russia suspended transport and mail links with Georgia, as several senior Russian politicians demanded economic sanctions and other measures against the country. Police have also closed down at least three casinos in Moscow for alleged links with the Georgian mafia and two restaurants. President Vladimir Putin has also called for immigration laws to be tightened. A total of 176 Russians, mainly tourists who could not return to Russia after the closure of air links with Georgia, are currently boarding one of the planes at Tbilisi's airport. Ivan Volynkin, Russia's charge d'affaires in Georgia, said 80 more Russians were added to the list of the embassy, where only two diplomats are working after Russia recalled its ambassador to Tbilisi and evacuated the vast majority of its embassy staff and their families late last week. Volynkin said the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry will organize a new flight to Tbilisi October 9.
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