Russia suspends Georgian airline flights in its territory

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Russia on Saturday suspended Georgian air companies from flying in its territory from July 8, a day after President Vladimir Putin banned Russian flights to pro-Western Georgia citing security concerns.

“The reason for this suspension is the necessity to ensure a sufficient level of air security and arrears” owed by Georgian companies, a transport statement said.

The Kremlin had said the ban was to “ensure Russia’s national security and protect Russian nationals from criminal and other unlawful activities.”

Authorities recommended travel companies stop selling holiday packages to Georgia and advised Russian tourists to return home.

Moscow has suspended flights to Georgia before – during a spike in tensions in October 2006 and in August 2008 following the outbreak of a five-day war over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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