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Russia Stops, Then Resumes Flights To Tajikistan Amid Airport Dispute

The new Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow is at the center of a dispute over air flights between Russia and Tajikistan.

Russia announced it would stop flights to Tajikistan, and then agreed to resume them within hours on December 21 as a dispute played out in talks between Moscow and Dushanbe over air service between the countries.

At one point about 100 passengers were stranded in Moscow's Zhukovsky airport before Tajikistan's aviation authorites agreed to temporarily allow flights by Russia's Yamal airline to airports in Dushanbe and Khujand.

Tajik authorities have questioned the legitimacy of the Yamal flights, but agreed to continue talks on the matter on December 22 after Russia lifted its threat to stop all flights to its southern neighbor.

Tajik authorities said allowing the Yamal flights would break the parity of Russia and Tajikistan in the number of airlines allowed to fly between Moscow and Tajikistan. Tajikistan counts the new Zhukovsky airport as one of Moscow's hubs.

But Russia maintains the recently completed suburban airport established a new "Ramensky aviation hub," and Tajikistan's refusal to allow Yamal flights from Zhukovsky is illegal.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Tajik Service and TASS