Russia's Kommersant Says Moscow May Resume Air Traffic With Georgia If Russophobia Ends

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Russia's Kommersant Says Moscow May Resume Air Traffic With Georgia If Russophobia Ends

Russia may resume direct flights with Georgia and return to the issue of abolishing visas for Georgian citizens, if Tbilisi will be able to normalize the situation and calm down anti-Russian sentiment in the country, the Russian Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th July, 2019) Russia may resume direct flights with Georgia and return to the issue of abolishing visas for Georgian citizens, if Tbilisi will be able to normalize the situation and calm down anti-Russian sentiment in the country, the Russian Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"There should be a sequence of steps. If the situation in Georgia is normalized, Russophobia stops, and there are safety guarantees for our citizens, we can talk about air traffic," the source said.

According to the source, after that, Moscow may consider returning to the idea of abolishing the visa regime for Georgian citizens.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been on a downward spiral since 2008 when the countries severed the diplomatic ties after Moscow recognized the sovereignty of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The tensions between the nations took another turn following mass anti-Russia rallies in Tbilisi that erupted in late June this year after the Russian head of the General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, which was having a meeting in the Georgian parliament, addressed the audience in Russian from the speaker's seat.

The Kremlin condemned the events in Tbilisi as "nothing more than a Russophobic provocation," voicing extreme concern over "aggressive manifestations against Russian citizens."

On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree tightening national security measures in light of anti-Russia protests in Georgia. The decree obligated the Russian airlines to temporarily stop passenger flights from Russia to Georgia starting from July 8. It also advised Russian tour operators and agents to suspend sales of tours to Georgia until the ban is lifted.

On Tuesday, the Russian parliament's lower house recommended that the Russian government consider special economic sanctions against Georgia and submit relevant proposals to the president. Putin did not support the idea of imposing economic restrictions on Georgia "out of respect for the Georgian people."

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