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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World -> 
Russia bans Georgia airline flights as tensions rise
    2019-06-24  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

RUSSIA’S government Saturday banned Georgian airlines from flying into its territory, extending restrictions imposed by President Vladimir Putin as part of growing tensions between Moscow and its neighbor.

Putin had signed a decree late Friday banning Russian airlines from flying to pro-Western Georgia from July 8 in response to anti-Moscow rallies in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

The protests broke out after a Russian lawmaker addressed parliament from the speaker’s seat earlier last week, a hugely sensitive move for two countries whose relations remain tense after a brief war in 2008.

The rallies have morphed into a broader movement against the Georgian authorities while the Kremlin has branded them a “Russophobic provocation.”

On Saturday, protesters took to the streets of the Georgian capital for a third day of rallies, with some 3,000 demanding snap elections and electoral reform.

The crowd sang a profanity-laced, anti-Putin chant and some of the demonstrators held up placards insulting the Russian president. Demonstrators also shot paper airplanes into the sky in response to the Russian bans.

Russia’s transportation ministry said that from July 8 two Georgian airlines would be banned from flying to Russia, citing the need to ensure “aviation safety” and debt owned by the Georgian companies.

The Kremlin has said the ban against travel to Georgia was to “ensure Russia’s national security and protect Russian nationals from criminal and other unlawful activities.”

Authorities recommended travel companies stop selling holiday packages to Georgia and advised Russian tourists to return home.

Russia’s travel industry and ordinary Russians hit out at the decision by the Kremlin, saying it was a politically motivated move that has little to do with safety concerns.

“Tourism in Georgia is on the rise, and the decision has shocked the whole industry,” Aleksan Mkrtchyan, head of Pink Elephant, a chain of travel agencies, said in a statement.

The ban during high season is expected to hit the travel industry in both countries.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 and tensions between the two governments remain high. But Georgia has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists over the past few years, with more than 1.3 million visiting last year. (SD-Agencies)

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