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May 18, 2023

EU Urges Georgia to Align with Sanctions Against Russia Amid

The European Union has urged Georgia to align with sanctions imposed against Russia following the latter’s decision to put an end to visa requirements for Georgian nationals, including the lifting of a ban imposed in 2019 on direct flights to Georgia.

The issue was discussed during a press briefing by the European Union Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Peter Stano, in which he remained that following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union and a number of other countries imposed harsh sanctions on Russia, including a ban imposed on Russian flights, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“The European Union encourages Georgia, aspiring to become an EU candidate country, to align with the EU and other countries in their sanctions against Russia also in the aviation sector, and to remain vigilant regarding any possible attempt to circumvent them,” Stano stressed, according to EU Neighbours east report.

In addition, EU Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy added that as a result of the EU sanction, a total of 95 per cent of the Russian fleet is ineligible to renew and upgrade their aircraft, which is essential in keeping the required international as well as technical safety standards. Thus, Stano stressed that Georgia should not permit perilous Russian aircraft in its country.

Recently, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, abolished the visa requirements for Georgians as well as a 2019 ban imposed on flights to Georgia while confirming through a decree that the new changes would become effective starting from May 15.

But the decision was considered a provocation by the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili.

“Another Russian provocation! Resuming direct flights and lifting the visa ban with Georgia is unacceptable as long as Russia continues its aggression on Ukraine and occupies our territory,” the President wrote on Twitter.

Georgia and Russia implemented a visa regime in 2000, while in 2012, Tbilisi implemented a visa regime. At the same time, in 2012, Georgia lifted visa requirements for Russian citizens who are allowed to remain in this country for over one year.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authorities in Georgia joined international resolutions condemning the military action, at the same time offering help to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.

Georgia has been attempting to tighten its connections with European Union for years now. In addition, in March 2022, the country submitted an application to become part of the European Union.

But Georgia’s attempts, especially to make closer connections with NATO, have not been welcomed by Russia.