Protests in Tbilisi over Russia flight resumption

STORY: The Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 of Azimut Airlines took off from Moscow's Vnukovo airport at about 08:00 Moscow time and landed in Tbilisi three hours later, marking the first direct flight from Moscow to the Georgian capital since 2019.

Russia's decision to restore visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia and to lift the ban on direct flights represents a warming in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi, which have been among the most strained in the former Soviet Union, but which have improved in recent years as Georgia's ruling party has avoided offending Moscow.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, whose position is largely ceremonial and who has repeatedly accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of having ties to Moscow since being elected with its backing in 2018, wrote on Twitter: "Despite the opposition of the Georgian people, Russia has landed its unwelcome flight in Tbilisi" and used the hashtag #No2Flights2Russia.