A week after commercial flights between Georgia and Russia were resumed, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that relations between the two countries warm up further, DPA reported.
“We are ready to make our contribution, we are taking the necessary steps and will continue to do so depending on the reaction of our partners,” Putin said of Georgia at a meeting with Russian businessmen last night.
However, the Russian president added that he was shocked by the anti-Russian protests in Georgia that greeted the resumption of flights.
Two weeks ago, Putin surprisingly lifted visa requirements for Georgians and allowed Georgian airlines to use Russian airspace. Flights between the two countries resumed last week.
Many Georgians welcomed the resumption of flights with relief, as Russia is home to a large number of Georgian migrants and many have relatives on both sides of the border. However, there were also protests in the capital Tbilisi.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili also sharply criticized the course taken by the government, noting that Russia still occupied parts of Georgia. Concessions to Russia will not make the bigger neighbor give up the occupied territories, she told Georgian media last night. Zurabishvili also wished Ukraine success in its fight against the Russian invasion.
Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have been particularly strained since 2008, when Russia waged war against the small Black Sea country, DPA said. The two countries severed diplomatic relations over the conflict. Moscow still supports the separatist Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and has deployed Russian troops to the region.
The most recent cautious warming of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi suffered a setback in 2019, when riots erupted in the Caucasian republic after a Russian politician appeared in the Georgian parliament.
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