Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said today that Russia ‘does not change conditions’ for the restoration of regular flights with Georgia, Russian news agency TASS reported.
Deputy FM Rudenko claimed that along with the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, solving the issue depends on Tbilisi ensuring the safety of Russian nationals on its territory.
“The conditions to revoke this [Russia’s flight ban] order have been repeatedly voiced by Russian officials,” Rudenko added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also expressed his hopes in April 2020 that flights would be restored in the near future. Georgian chief diplomat David Zalkaliani said back then in response: “It is worth noting, now, as back when the decision was made [by Russia to ban flights], Russian citizens are not in any danger in Georgia, which was demonstrated by million-strong visitors [each year from Russia.]”
President Vladimir Putin imposed the temporary ban on flights to and from Georgia in July 2019 “to protect Russian citizens from violence or other illegal actions,” following the forced departure of the Russian lawmakers from Tbilisi and weeks-long anti-Russian occupation protests.