‘One other provocation!’: Georgia balks as Russia ends visa regime | Russia-Ukraine battle Information

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President Salome Zourabichvili says lifting a visa ban and resuming flights is meaningless so long as Russia occupies Georgian and Ukrainian lands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has abolished visas for Georgian nationals and lifted a 2019 ban on direct flights to the South Caucasus nation, a transfer that comes amid rocky relations between the 2 international locations and that was rapidly denounced by Georgia’s president as a “provocation”.

Introduced on the Russian authorities’s web site, the transfer introduces a 90-day visa-free interval beginning Might 15.

In a press release, Russia’s transport ministry stated Russian airways would function seven flights weekly between Moscow and Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.

It stated Russia wished “to facilitate the circumstances for communication and contacts between the residents of Russia and Georgia”.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili balked on Twitter, writing: “One other Russian provocation! Resuming direct flights and lifting [the] visa ban with Georgia is unacceptable so long as Russia continues its aggression on Ukraine and occupies our territory.”

Zourabichvili has repeatedly accused Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili of the ruling Georgian Dream celebration of sustaining questionable ties with Moscow since being elected with its backing in 2018.

Moscow and Tbilisi have some of the strained relations among the many former Soviet Union nations and have had no formal diplomatic relations since 2008, when a short battle erupted over South Ossetia, a Russian-backed breakaway area.

A lot of Georgian society stays strongly anti-Russian, with 1000’s dwelling as inside refugees after fleeing South Ossetia and one other Russian-backed secessionist area, Abkhazia.

In March, Georgia deserted efforts to go a “international brokers” draft legislation after mass protests, with critics deploring the invoice as modelled on a Russian legislation they are saying was used to undermine civil society.

Travellers from Russia drive after crossing the border to Georgia at the at the Zemo Larsi/Verkhny Lars station
Travellers from Russia drive after crossing the border to Georgia on the Zemo Larsi/Verkhny Lars station [File: Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters]

Whereas Russia permits visa-free journey to most former Soviet international locations, it imposed a visa requirement on Georgia in 2000, citing a safety danger.

Moscow additionally banned direct flights to Georgia in 2019 after anti-Russian protests.

Tbilisi permits Russians visa-free entry and employment rights for as much as a 12 months, which has seen the nation turn out to be a refuge for Russians fleeing the draft in the course of the invasion of Ukraine.

Regardless of a robust pro-Ukrainian stance amongst prime politicians and the general public, Georgia has refused to impose sanctions on Russia, inflicting friction with the European Union.

Russia praised Tbilisi’s resolution and stated its place on the battle was “balanced”.

Strained relations

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