Russia’s Lavrov favours resumption of direct flights to Georgia

The international airport at the Black Sea city of Batumi, a major centre of Georgia's tourist industry. [Georgi Gotev]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov supports the resumption of direct flights from Russia to Georgia that Moscow suspended in July, the Kommersant daily cited him as saying in an interview published on Wednesday (25 September).

“It seems to me that it will be right (to restore flights) after the majority of the Georgian population realized the counterproductive and provocative nature of the trick that took place in the Georgian parliament,” Lavrov said, according to Kommersant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the temporary ban of passenger flights from Russia to Georgia following an outbreak of unrest in Tbilisi triggered by the visit of a Russian lawmaker in June.

Thousands of protesters try to storm Georgia parliament

Thousands of protesters attempted Thursday (20 June) to storm the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi, furious that a Russian lawmaker addressed the assembly from the speaker’s seat during an international event.

One million Russian tourists used to visit Georgie each year.

Russia is vocal against denouncing Western sanctions, but is also using this instrument vis-à-vis countries in its neighbourhood, by tightening controls of wine imports, or introducing phytosanitary restrictions.

Georgia, a pro-Western former Soviet republic, fought and lost a short war against Russia in 2008.

The countries have not had diplomatic ties since, and Russia went on to recognize the independence of two breakaway Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Russian troops are now garrisoned.

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