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Russia ends visa regime for Georgia, restores direct flights

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed decrees abolishing visas for Georgian nationals and lifting a 2019 ban on direct flights to the South Caucasus nation.

According to the documents, starting from May 15, Georgian nationals will be allowed to enter Russia without visas -- unless they’re coming to Russia to work or to stay for longer than 90 days.

The second decree lifts a ban on flights to Georgia that Russia unilaterally imposed in 2019.

Following Putin’s decrees, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement lifting its 2019 recommendation for Russian citizens to avoid traveling to Georgia.

Russia-Georgia relations have been rocky and complicated since the Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s. The two countries fought a short war in 2008 that ended with Georgia losing control of two Russia-friendly separatist regions.

Tbilisi had severed diplomatic ties with Moscow, and the issue of the regions’ status remains a key irritant, even as relations have somewhat improved.

The Associated Press

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