TBILISI (RFE/RL)–Georgia has reopened a Caucasus mountain border crossing with Russia that has been closed for more than three years amid hostilities between the two countries.
The checkpoint at Verkhny Lars is the only land border crossing between the two countries that does not pass through the Russian-backed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which broke free from Georgian rule in the early 90s.
A Georgian Foreign Ministry statement said the crossing from today will be open to people, vehicles, and cargo, but visas will still be required for Russian citizens to enter Georgia. Visas will not be issued at the crossing.
Russia closed the crossing in 2006 as ties between Moscow and the pro-Western Georgian government worsened, climaxing in the brief 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.
The closing of the crossing marked a blow to traders in Armenia, who relied on the crossing as an overland route to business in Russia.