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Economy Minister: Ukraine’s decision to sanction Georgian Airways “entirely political”
04 July, 2023

Georgian Economy Minister Levan Davitashvili on Monday said the decision of the Ukrainian Government to put the flagship Georgian Airways carrier on its list of sanctioned companies was an “entirely political decision”.

The Ministry of Economy cited Davitashvili as saying “many airlines” operated flights from “many countries” to Russia, adding their operations had not led to “similar reaction or decision from the Ukrainian authorities”.

He also called the move “another very unfriendly” step by the Ukrainian authorities and said he suspected involvement of Georgian opposition in the decision. 

I think that our opposition is also involved in this, because you know how closely some opposition groups are connected with the Ukrainian authorities, and perhaps this is the basis for this decision - when incorrect information is provided and, accordingly, decisions are made that only harm the relations between the two countries”, he said.

At a press briefing at the Government Administration, the Minister was asked whether the move may be followed by international sanctions being imposed on the airline, but ruled out the possibility of the scenario.

Georgia, the Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia, the Aviation Authority of Georgia, and private companies [...] act in accordance with international rules in all directions”, he added.

Georgian Airways and its founder, Tamaz Gaiashvili, were added to the sanctions list of the Ukrainian Government with a decree signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday.

The development followed decrees by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May to lift the 2019-imposed ban on Russian airlines operating flights to Georgia, and cancel visa requirements for Georgian citizens to visit the country. 

Following the decrees - which were followed by widespread criticism by Georgia’s domestic opposition and some Western partners of the country against the restoration of flights between Russia and Georgia - Georgian Airways became the second airline, after Russia’s Azimuth, to receive a permit to carry out flights between destinations in the two countries. 

In their response, Georgian authorities have said the flights are only permitted to be operated by Russian airlines not on the list of international sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

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