MOSCOW, July 10. /TASS/. It’s early now to speak about resuming flights to Georgia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, noting that the situation would be monitored.
"The restrictions on flights, the flight ban is an absolutely forced measure, and consequently, the situation will be constantly monitored. As soon as the signs emerge that the situation has normalized for Russian tourists after such Russophobic manifestations, time will come for analyzing this and taking other decisions. Now it is early to speak about this," Peskov said.
The Kremlin spokesman stressed that the resumption of flights to Georgia cannot be ruled out. "Certainly, we hope that sooner or later this will happen," Peskov said, noting however that given that emotions are running high in the Georgian society and the anti-Russian and Russophobic sentiment, having a large number of Russian tourists in Georgia poses a great risk.
According to Peskov, it is logical that the current anti-Russian sentiment in Georgia has caused a public outcry. "Hideous Russophobic outbursts inevitably trigger a large-scale public reaction," he noted.
Situation in Georgia
On June 20, an unrest erupted in Tbilisi sparked by an uproar over a Russian legislator’s address in the Georgian parliament. The next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree imposing a temporary ban on flights, including commercial ones, from Russia to Georgia starting July 8. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the flight ban was aimed at ensuring the safety of Russians, who might run into danger in Georgia.
Tensions soared after on July 7, Giorgi Gabunia, the host of Georgia’s Rustavi 2 TV channel, went into a rant, spewing forth several crude comments about the Russian authorities in his Post Scriptum program. This escapade has drawn sharp criticism in the Georgian society, with dozens of citizens gathering outside the opposition TV channel’s building in the suburb of Tbilisi to voice protest over the host’s behavior.
Georgia’s authorities, including President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, have condemned his tirade. Nika Gvaramia, Director General of the Rustavi 2 TV channel, likewise criticized Gabunia for his remarks. Later, Gabunia was suspended from work for two months.