Russia moved to suspend transport links with Georgia yesterday as efforts were made to broker an end to the worst crisis in years between Moscow and Tbilisi.
The Russian transport and communications ministries said all postal, air, road, rail and sea links with Georgia would be suspended.
The announcement came shortly after Georgia said it would release four Russian officers, who were detained last week on spying charges, into the hands of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The arrests infuriated Moscow, which has put its troops in Georgia on high alert, recalled its ambassador and evacuated its citizens.
Vano Noniashvili, a spokesman for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, said the four Russians would be handed over to OSCE officials after a news conference by Saakashvili and the visiting head of the organisation.
"Today, after the briefing of the OSCE chairman and the Georgian president ... the four Russian military officers who were detained will be transferred to (the care of) OSCE representatives," he said.
A spokesman for the OSCE said the organisation was acting as a mediator between Georgia and Russia and the four men would no longer face spying charges.
"This is an alleged spying case, nothing has been proven. There is no question of taking them into custody," Mikhail Evstasiev said in Vienna.
Ties between Tbilisi and Moscow had already been strained over Georgia's bid to join Nato, and allegations that Russia was backing two Georgian separatist provinces. Moscow denies that claim.
In his first public comments on the crisis President Vladimir Putin denounced the arrests as "state terrorism".
"These people think that under the roof of their foreign sponsors they can feel comfortable and secure. Is it really so?" Putin asked. While Putin did not name any names, some Russian politicians accused the US of instigating Georgian authorities' action.