Georgia opens direct flights to Russia: Citizens outraged, Ukraine and EU react
Georgian Airways, the flag carrier of Georgia, has decided to operate regular flights from Tbilisi to Moscow. The flights will start on May 20. The decision has already drawn harsh criticism from the opposition-minded population of Georgia itself, as well as from official bodies in Ukraine and the EU.
This was reported by the press service of the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency (GCAA) on Facebook. "Tbilisi - Moscow. Georgian Airways starts regular flights to Tbilisi. According to the airline's application for flights submitted to the Civil Aviation Agency, flights will start on May 20 at 7 frequencies per week," the statement said.
The Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia issued the necessary permission for the airline to take off today. This happened today, May 16.
Georgians are outraged by the airline's decision
Georgian residents reacted very negatively to the decision of Georgian Airways. The following reactions can be seen in the comments under the post on Facebook:
- "Bastards! Don't do this, stay there and fly domestic flights!";
- "These airlines are a disgrace to the country!";
Reaction of Ukraine and the European Union
The bloc regrets that the Georgian authorities have decided to resume flights with Russia, which raises fears for Georgia's European path, said Peter Stano, spokesman for the Union's foreign policy service, at a briefing in Brussels.
"We have taken note of the relevant decisions, we regret Georgia's decision to resume flights to and from Russia after Russia's decision to lift the ban on air travel. The EU and a number of partners have imposed sanctions on the Russian aviation sector, and we do not allow flights to, from and over Russia. This latest decision by the Georgian authorities raises concerns for Georgia's European path," Stano said.
The head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, also commented on the situation. "History always remembers those who pretended not to notice the genocide, Nazism and its authors. And this historical memory is hardly pleasant to anyone. Georgia has allowed another airline to operate direct flights to Russia. Georgian Airways, and previously Azimuth," he wrote on Telegram.
Later, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko responded. He noted that this decision by the Georgian authorities plays into the hands of the Kremlin.
"The world is isolating Russia to force it to end the war, but Georgia welcomes Russian airlines and sends its own to Moscow. At the same time, 20% of Georgia's territory remains occupied by Russia with impunity. The Kremlin will surely be delighted with this outcome," Nikolenko said.
As previously reported by OBOZREVATEL, Russia continues to receive sanctioned goods from the EU, including dual-use goods (i.e. those that can be used for military purposes), such as aircraft parts, gas turbines, etc. In 2022 alone, more than $1 billion of European exports "disappeared" in the territories of Russia's neighbouring countries. First of all, we are talking about Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, which are "friendly" to Russia.
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