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Russian Tightens Economic Squeeze on Georgia


Russia has tightened its economic squeeze on Georgia in an ongoing spy dispute, freezing work permits for Georgian workers and closing down another Georgian-owned casino in Moscow.

Separately, the Russian Foreign Ministry Thursday for the second time this week ruled out the use of force against Georgia.

The latest Russian moves follow Georgia's arrest in Tbilisi 10 days ago of four Russian military officers accused of spying. Georgia later released the Russians, but Moscow nonetheless began imposing an array of sanctions.

Tuesday, Russian authorities severed all transport and postal links with its southern neighbor. Authorities also threatened to legislate against the transfer of cash from Georgian workers in Russia to their families at home.

Tens of thousands of Georgians in Russia send millions of dollars each year to cash-strapped relatives at home.

Georgia said it has proof the military officers were spying, but freed them Monday in what it called a goodwill gesture. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the spy charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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