EU Ambassador Pavel Gerchinsky on resumption of flights between Georgia and Russia
Flights between Georgia and Russia
EU Ambassador to Georgia Pavel Gerchinsky said in an interview with Interpressnews that when deciding on resumption of flights with Russia, Georgia must comply with the position of the European Union, recalling that after Russia’s “unprovoked, unjustified and extremely brutal invasion of Ukraine,” 27 EU member states unanimously decided to ban direct flights to and from Russia.
Gerchinsky said that in a few weeks the EU would meet at the level of presidents and prime ministers and assess the progress made by Georgia:
“Let me explain again what will happen this year. Very soon we will start working on a conclusion on fulfillment of the twelve recommendations. This process will continue for several months; it will be a very comprehensive process. The Government of Georgia will be invited to present its opinion. We will also be consulting with other stakeholders, including civil society, and this will be reflected in the opinion of the European Commission, which will be published in October this year,” the ambassador says.
According to him, the assessment will be made on the basis of a report submitted by the European Commission, which it will publish in October of this year.
- “The West is twisting Georgia’s arm over its relations with Russia” – Grigory Karasin
- EU urges Georgia to support aviation sanctions against Russia
- US promises sanctions against Georgian companies if flights with Russia restored
On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope for a speedy restoration of direct flights with Georgia and said that the 10% growth of the Georgian economy was largely due to ties with Russia.
Sergei Lavrov said that there are necessary mechanisms for a dialogue between Georgia, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, in which “Russia also participates.” According to him, Moscow is in favor of building relations between Georgia and the occupied territories.
Lavrov also noted that Western countries and institutions are trying to “hold hostage” the events taking place in Ukraine in the Geneva format, which, in his opinion, “is caused by political grievances and whims.”
At the 2022 final press conference, Sergey Lavrov praised the Georgian government, saying that the country is “resisting pressure from the West.”
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili does not welcome the resumption of flights with Russia:
“At a time when all our partner countries, in word or deed, express maximum solidarity with the selfless struggle of Ukraine, for me and, I am sure, for the majority of society, the position of the government and the ruling parties is, to put it mildly, incomprehensible,” Zurabishvili wrote on Facebook.
This is not the first time that high-ranking officials in the Russian Federation have praised the Georgian authorities for their attitude towards Ukraine and the West.
On March 25 last year, Grigory Karasin, chairman of the Russian Council Committee on International Affairs, also praised the Georgian authorities for their position on the Ukrainian issue, calling Georgia’s reaction to the West’s anti-Russian sanctions “balanced” and stressed that “this fact will not go unnoticed” in Russia.
Karasin analyzed the history of Russian-Georgian relations and said that since 2012, after the Georgian Dream came to power, Russia has become Georgia’s second most important trading partner. According to him, all restrictions on Georgian goods were lifted, and Georgia’s exports to Russia increased 14 times.