Vladimir Putin orders suspension of passenger flights from Russia to Georgia

Reuters
Moscow, Russia Published: Jun 22, 2019, 08.39 AM(IST)

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( AFP )

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The Kremlin said it was also recommending travel agencies suspend tours to Georgia from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has temporarily banned passenger flights from Russia to Georgia, the Kremlin said on Friday following an outbreak of unrest in Tbilisi triggered by the visit of a Russian lawmaker.

The Kremlin said it was also recommending travel agencies suspend tours to Georgia from Russia.

Violence flared in the Georgian capital late on Thursday, where police used tear gas and rubber bullets to stop angry crowds storming parliament.

The crowds were angry about the visit of a Russian delegation led by Sergei Gavrilov, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament, who was taking part in an event designed to foster relations between Orthodox Christian lawmakers.

Hundreds of people, both protesters and police officers, were injured, some seriously, as demonstrators pushed against lines of riot police, threw bottles and stones, and grabbed shields, drawing a tough response.

Though ostensibly about how Georgia handles relations with Russia, with whom it fought and lost a brief war in 2008, opposition parties are seeking to seize the moment to press much wider and unrelated demands and called on people to take to the streets again on Friday evening.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili called Russia "an enemy and occupier" and suggested Moscow had helped trigger the protests, while the Kremlin on Friday blamed radical Georgian politicians for what it called "an anti-Russian provocation".

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