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Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the OSCE chairman Friday for helping release Russian officers detained last week in Georgia
Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the OSCE chairman Friday for helping release Russian officers detained last week in Georgia, the Kremlin press service said. "I thank you for your efforts to resolve the situation linked with the seizure of Russian servicemen in Tbilisi," Putin said in his message to Karel de Gucht. Putin thanked the international security organization for willingness to mediate in the spiraling crisis between Russia and Georgia, but said the OSCE should focus on encouraging Georgia to drastically amend its foreign policy. He said the Caucasus state intentionally heightened tensions and was preparing to launch military campaigns to bring back its breakaway regions. "The Georgian authorities' irresponsibility cannot remain outside the global community's attention any longer. I hope the current OSCE chairman will take a position of principle [on Georgia]," Putin said. Russia evacuated most of its embassy staff last week amid the worst crisis with Georgia since its Western-leaning government came to power in 2003 with four officers accused of espionage at the center, and was evacuating Russian tourists from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Friday. The country has also suspended transport and mail links with the Caucasus state. Police have closed down several casinos and restaurants in Moscow for alleged links with the Georgian mafia. President Putin also called for immigration laws to be tightened, and 180 Georgians were deported Friday over alleged immigration-law violations. The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution on Georgia, heeding Russian demands, although it is a milder version than that proposed by Moscow.
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