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Flights of Georgian airlines to Russia to be suspended from July 8 - Transport Ministry

"The reason for the suspension of flights is the need to ensure a sufficient level of aviation security", the Russian Transport Ministry said

MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Flights of Georgian airlines to Russia will be suspended from July 8, according to the Russian Transport Ministry.

"The reason for the suspension of flights is the need to ensure a sufficient level of aviation security, as well as overdue debts for air navigation activities before State ATM Corporation," the Ministry said.

The total amount of Georgia’s debt for air navigation services is slightly below $793,000. At the same time, another 592,200 rubles ($9,391) of debt have not been repaid since 2008.

"The suspension of flights will continue until companies Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines present programs of aviation safety to the Russian side, their audit and approval by the Russian side, and until the Georgian side fully repays the air navigation service debt," the report said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday, imposing a temporary ban on passenger flights with Georgia from July 8, the Kremlin press office reported.

Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot will fully halt flights to Georgia from July 8, Aeroflot announced earlier.

Tbilisi developments

On June 20, several thousand protesters gathered near the building of the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Sergei Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.

Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. Members of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia’ party said that they did not know that Gavrilov had been scheduled to open the event, claiming that the protocol office had made a mistake.

Secretary General of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia’ party and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced on Friday that Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze had decided to resign.