Russian Forces Kill Top Militant Suspect in North Caucasus
Russian Forces Kill Top Militant Suspect in North Caucasus

Russia has authorized direct flights from for the first time since the two countries fought a brief war last year.

Russia's Transport Ministry Monday gave Georgian Airways permission for charter flights from Tbilisi to Moscow and St. Petersburg on December 29 and 30.

No agreement has yet been reached for the resumption of regular flights.

Direct flights between Russia and Georgia have been suspended since the August 2008 war between the two countries over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Moscow recognized both regions as independent countries weeks after the five-day conflict ended.  Only Venezuela, Nicaragua and the South Pacific island-nation of Nauru have offered such recognition, while Georgia and a host of Western governments have strongly condemned the move.

Last week, Russia and Georgia agreed to re-open their land border to traffic.

The two countries reached the deal under Swiss mediation to open the Upper Lars checkpoint in March.  It was the first sign of a significant thaw in diplomatic relations since the war.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said earlier this month that he no longer saw any reason to keep either the crossing or air routes closed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.