Russia ends visa regime for Georgia, restores direct flights

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed decrees abolishing visas for Georgian nationals and lifting a 2019 ban on direct flights to the country.

Starting from May 15, Georgian nationals will be allowed to enter Russia without visas, unless they’re coming to Russia to work or to stay for longer than 90 days.

The second decree lifts a ban on flights to Georgia that Russia unilaterally imposed in 2019.

Following Putin’s decrees, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement lifting its 2019 recommendation for Russian citizens to avoid traveling to Georgia.

Russia-Georgia relations have long been complicated. The two countries fought a short war in 2008 that ended with Georgia losing control of two Russia-friendly regions.

Tbilisi had severed diplomatic ties with Moscow, and the issue of the regions’ status remains a key irritant, even as relations have somewhat improved.

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