As this report from Civil Georgia makes clear, the release of the Russian officers is, in President Saakashvili’s words, ‘a gesture towards [Georgia’s] western friends’ and no way a response to threats voiced by the Russia leadership.”
However, some uncertainty remains concerning Russia’s response, and the further outcome of the crisis:
Also, according to gazeta.ru, GRVZ commander Andrei Popov told journalists this evening that Russian forces will remain on high alert for the time being.
Meanwhile in Moscow, the Russian authorities announced on October 2 about intentions to cut air link[s] with Tbilisi starting from October 3. The announcement came shortly before the release of Russian officers and it was not immediately clear whether the measure will be enforced anyway after the release of the officers.
Russian Deputy Transport Minister said that non-payment of USD 3,6 million by Georgian air companies for air traffic service by Russia since 2001 is a reason behind the decision.
Also earlier on October 2, Russian Duma Council Chairman Boris Grizlov said that Russian MPs from the lower house of the Parliament will develop a law authorizing the government to ban money transfers from Russia into “certain countries” in “cases of emergency.”