Russia to deport another group of 'illegal' Georgians

(RIA Novosti) - Russia will deport another 119 Georgian citizens, who authorities accuse of illegally residing in the country, the Federal Migration Service said Tuesday.

A total of 180 Georgians were deported in the beginning of October from Russia, following the recent spying row between the ex-Soviet neighbors, reports Trend.

Tensions between Russia and Georgia escalated recently after four Russian officers were charged in Tbilisi with spying. Although the officers were soon released and returned to their homeland, Russia suspended transport and mail links with Georgia. Russia is continuing the evacuation of its citizens from the South Caucasus country.

A Migration Service official said, "We are planning to deport 119 Georgian citizens who resided illegally on Russian territory."

An emergencies ministry spokesman said an Il-62 passenger plane will take the deported Georgians to Tbilisi and bring Russian citizens, who decided to leave Georgia, back to Moscow. A second emergencies ministry plane will fly to Tbilisi on Wednesday.

The Russian Embassy in Georgia has requested permission from the Georgian Foreign Ministry to land the two planes, but still has not received clearance, Valery Vasilyev, the embassy consul said.

The diplomat said 270 Russians were currently on the embassy's evacuation list, 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.

Georgian Economy Minister Irakly Chogovadze said the Georgians deported from Russia would find work in their homeland.

"I do not think that we will face problems with the arrival of our citizens from Russia," he said. "Each of them will be able to find a job and be useful in his home country."

About a million Georgians are thought to work in Russia. A deputy speaker of the lower chamber of Russia's parliament has suggested 300,000 of them reside illegally.

Georgian workers send large amounts of money home to their relatives in what is still a relatively poor country. Russia's small and economically-dependent neighbor is widely expected to be hard-hit by the latest measures.

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