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February 27, 2024

EU Voices Disappointment as Georgia Resumes Air Connections with Russia

The European Union has deeply regretted the decision of Georgia to resume flights to and from Russia following the decision of the latter to put an end to the travel ban imposed in 2019.

The Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, Peter Stano, said during an EU Commission mid-day press briefing yesterday that Georgia’s latest decision raises concerns in terms of its EU path and commitment to align with the EU decisions in the foreign policy as foreseen in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

The same stressed that the alignment of Georgia with the foreign and security policy decisions of the EU has already dropped from 44 per cent last year to 31 per cent this year, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Moreover, Stano emphasised the decision to resume flights with Russia raises safety concerns as Russian planes have already been qualified as unsafe by ICAO, calling the move regrettable.

“EU regrets decision to resume flights between Georgia and Russia. This raises concerns about Georgia’s EU path & commitment to align with the EU foreign policy decisions, including on sanctions. It raises serious safety concerns too as ICAO qualified Russia planes as unsafe,” Stano wrote on his official Twitter account.

In addition to the above-mentioned, Stano stressed that the Member States of the EU, as well as several other countries, have already imposed air travel sanctions against Russia, suggesting that the EU and its partners do not and should not allow flights from, to, and over Russia.

“Due to the illegal Russian war against Ukraine, the European Union and a number of other countries introduced sanctions against the Russian aviation sector, and our partners and we do not allow flights from Russia, flights to Russia, and flights over Russia,” the statement of Stano reads.

Russia decided to lift its air travel ban with Georgia and restore visa-free travel last week. Announcing the country’s decision, the Russian Ministry of Transports said that they decided to restore visa-free travel with Georgia as well as lift the flight bans to facilitate “conditions for communication and contacts”.

While the decision of Russia was welcomed by the Deputy Economy Minister of Georgia, Mariam Kvrivishvili, the President of the country, Salome Zourabichvili, did not support such a move.

Zourabichvili called the decision of Russia a provocation through an official statement on her Twitter account. She said that the decision to restore visa-free travel and lift the fight ban is unacceptable and stressed that Georgia “does need any gifts” from Russia.

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