American Ambassador: The question is why Putin is giving this "gift" to Georgia now
American ambassador on visa-free travel
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan says that he understands the concerns of the Georgian people regarding the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Georgia.
According to the ambassador, “the question is why” this is happening now and why Putin is giving a gift to the Georgian people. According to him, it would be more important for Georgians if Putin fulfilled the 2008 ceasefire agreement and withdrew the troops from the occupied territories.
“I understand the concern of the Georgian people regarding the restoration of direct flights between Russia and Georgia. The question arises as to why this is happening now, why Putin is giving a “gift” to Georgia now, when it would be more important for the Georgian population that he withdraws troops from Georgian territory and fulfills the 2008 ceasefire agreement and withdraws recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It would be very important for the Georgian people, because everyone knows that Putin does not do anything else without compensation. I think it would be important if he fulfilled the conditions and the agreement that was made in 2008.” – said Kelly Degnan.
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On May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document on the abolition of the visa regime for citizens of Georgia and the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Georgia.
An exception to the visa-free regime is “citizens entering the Russian Federation for work or for a period of more than 90 days, including for the purpose of obtaining education.”
The visa regime between Russia and Georgia has been operating unilaterally since 2000, and direct flights have been discontinued since July 2019.