Ex-Soviet Georgia is in the grip of a wave of Russophobic hysteria which is being artificially whipped up and is getting worse, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

He said Russia was not imposing sanctions on Tbilisi, but had been forced to halt Russian airline flights to Georgia to protect its citizens after violent protests flared at the end of law week, some of them directed against Russia.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has blamed Moscow for the unrest, suggesting a “fifth column” loyal to Moscow had stirred up trouble.