First Georgia Plane To Russia After a Breif War Held Between The Two Countries At 2008

The Georgian Airways charter airplane landed in Moscow from Tbilisi on Friday, the first direct flight between Georgia and Russia since the two countries fought a short war in 2008.

Georgian Airways plans to fly to Moscow between January 8 and January 10 under an agreement with Russia over the festive season, raising hopes of a full resumption of regular flights between the ex-Soviet neighbors.

Georgian Airways is ready to start again regular flights but we are waiting for Russia, company spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani told reporters at Tbilisi airport before flight A9-1930 took off with 84 passengers on board. Smiling passengers, mostly Georgian, were met by cheering relatives and friends at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

Georgia and Russia have also agreed to revive a key land crossing, and a senior Russian bishop said on Thursday the head of the Russian Orthodox Church would travel to Georgia to support closer relations. He did not specify when.

There was no sign, however, of Tbilisi and Moscow restoring diplomatic relations, detached by Georgia in August 2008 over the Kremlin's decision to indentify the two breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

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