Russia resumes direct air traffic with Georgia and lifts visas

Putin abolishes visas, orders to resume air traffic with Georgia

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees facilitating tourist communication between Russia and Georgia.

In a decree signed on May 10, President Putin ordered to abolish the visa regime for Georgian citizens to enter Russia. Thus, from May 15, Georgians will be able to cross the border without a visa and stay in the country for up to 90 days.

According to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Putin's decisions come in line with Moscow's approach to facilitate communication and contacts between citizens of Russia and Georgia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also revoked the recommendation for Russian citizens not to travel to Georgia. However, when planning a vacation in the republic, one should still take security aspects into account, Zakharova added.

Russia resumes direct flights to Georgia

In addition, Putin's decree has lifted restrictions for Russian airlines flying to Georgia. The air travel ban, which has been in effect since July 8, 2019, has thus become invalid.

Russia's Ministry of Transport said that preparations for the launch of air traffic between Russia and Georgia had begun. According to the agency, Russian airlines will be able to conduct seven direct flights from Moscow to Tbilisi and back on domestic aircraft on a daily basis.

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), flights to Georgia could be launched in late May, since there is a demand in this direction.

Georgia not happy with Russia's decisions

Yet, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili stated that Russia's move to abolish the visa regime was a provocation. Zurabishvili found Moscow's decision unacceptable due to the crisis in Ukraine.

“Another Russian provocation! The resumption of direct flights and the abolition of the visa regime with Georgia are unacceptable as long as Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine and occupies our territory!" the Georgian president said.

The President of Georgia also called on the authorities to convene the Security Council to discuss a possibility of three-month visas for Russians.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov