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Russia and Georgia to close embassies

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Russia will be forced to shut its embassy in Tbilisi following Georgia's announcement that it is severing diplomatic ties with Moscow, a Foreign Ministry source said on Friday.
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will be forced to shut its embassy in Tbilisi following Georgia's announcement that it is severing diplomatic ties with Moscow, a Foreign Ministry source said on Friday.

Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said on Friday that Georgia was cutting diplomatic ties with Russia following Moscow's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

"When diplomatic relations are severed, embassies also shut," the source said. "Perhaps some kind of office or consular service will remain there."

A spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said commenting on the decision that Georgia's authorities, "essentially are leaving their citizens to the mercy of fate," adding that there are between 600,000 to 1 million Georgians currently in Russia.

Igor Lyakin-Frolov also said that there are just "maybe several hundred Russians in Georgia."

A source in Georgia's embassy in Russia said that it would take about a week to close the diplomatic mission, adding that "no instruction [to leave Russia] has been given as yet by the Georgian Foreign Ministry."

The source said that some legal issues are being considered to allow the consulate to continue its work, "because it must protect the interests of its citizens, so that Russian nationals can come to Georgia."

The current diplomatic crisis emerged after Russia officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday despite warnings from Western powers, saying the move was needed to protect the regions following Georgia's August 8 attack on South Ossetia, which was followed by five days of hostilities between Georgia and Russia.

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