Russia to cut Georgia air links from Friday midnight

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will cut all air links with Georgia from midnight on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Russian Transport Ministry said.

“From midnight the Russian Federation will halt all air communications with Georgia,” the spokeswoman said.

Moscow cut air, sea and postal links to Georgia before, in October 2006, after a spying row triggered a sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and Tbilisi’s pro-Western government.

Moscow restored air links in March this year.

Russia also halted wine and mineral water sales, which were crucial exports for the Caucasian country. It also doubled Tbilisi’s gas bill to $235 for 1,000 cubic meters in 2007.

Apart from charter flights linked to religious holidays, the only other flights between the countries during the last ban were aircraft deporting Georgians deemed by Russia to be illegal immigrants.

Travelers then flying between Moscow and Tbilisi were forced to take alternative routes through Kiev, Baku or Istanbul.

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