TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The Russian government's ban on direct flights between Russia and Georgia has come into effect, affecting thousands of travelers.

President Vladimir Putin introduced the ban last month following violent protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, set off by the visit of a Russian lawmaker to the parliament. The lawmaker's appearance stoked long-hold animosity over Russia's support for Georgia's two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The last direct flight between Russia and Georgia landed in Moscow Sunday evening. Travelers will now have to use other destinations for a layover.

More than 1.3 million Russians visited Georgia last year, and the flight ban would be a blow to the country's tourism sector.

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