For the first time since 2019, it is again possible to book a direct flight between Russia and Georgia. Despite tensions with Moscow and criticism from the West, Georgia’s government gave the go-ahead.
Russian carrier Azimuth Airlines has been awarded a license from Georgia for the daily Moscow-Tbilisi connection. According to the airline’s reservation system, the first flight will be operated on Friday.
Georgia does not participate in Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The West has threatened sanctions against Tbilisi if Russian airlines are allowed to land.
Moscow suspended direct flights between Russia and Georgia in 2019 due to tensions between the two countries. They fought another war in 2008, during which Georgia lost control of about a fifth of its territory: Moscow recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and has stationed military forces there.
Pro-Western Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who has repeatedly warned that Russia wants to increase its influence in her country, says the resumption of direct flights is “unacceptable as long as Russia continues its aggression in Ukraine and occupies our lands.” Her government sees things differently. Georgia, known for its coasts, viticulture and mountains, is also very dependent on Russian tourists despite the tensions. (Belgium)
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