19 May 2023 19:45

Georgian president responds negatively to first direct flight from Moscow

TBILISI. May 19 (Interfax) - Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has negatively responded to the first direct flight from Moscow since 2019, the flight was performed by the Russian Azimut airline on Friday.

"Despite resistance from the Georgian people, Russia has landed its undesirable flight in Tbilisi," Zourabichvili said on a social network.

"No to flights to Russia," she said.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told reporters earlier on Friday that the resumption of direct flights to and from Russia was the right step, yet not a single Russian airline under sanctions could operate flights to and from Georgia.

He also said that Georgia did not shut down trade and economic relations with Russia, as "that would have harmed the interests of the Georgian people".

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on May 10 that restrictions on flights to and from Georgia, imposed in July 2019, be lifted on May 15, 2023.

The Russian Transport Ministry said that Russian airlines would perform seven direct return flights between Moscow and Tbilisi a week.

The United States and the European Union have warned Tbilisi of the risk of sanctions in the event of the resumption of air services with Russia.