Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban on direct flights between the Russian Federation and Georgia goes into effect today.
Russian outlet Novaya Gazeta reports that the last flights from Tbilisi to Moscow were made carried out by Ural Airlines and S7, and from Moscow to Tbilisi by Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines.
Putin signed the decree on June 21 after protests broke out in Tbilisi, which began because of the speech of State Duma MP Sergei Gavrilov in the Georgian parliament, who addressed the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodox being held in the building from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker. He also spoke in Russian.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that flights from Russia would resume when the situation in Georgia returns “to a non-Russophobic atmosphere.” The restrictions, he said, were imposed because of concerns about the safety of Russian citizens in the country.
Estimates of the Russian Ministry of Transport put losses to the Russian economy because of the ban on flights to and from Georgia at about 3 billion rubles or 46 million USD, while for Georgia, this number was estimated at $710 million, because of the reduction of Russian tourists and inbound flights.
Earlier, regular flights between Russia and Georgia were interrupted in August 2008 due to armed conflict. Flights resumed in 2010, but until 2014 only direct charter flights were operated between the countries.