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MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has issued an order for Chechnya's Grozny airport to be opened for international flights, the government said.
The border service has been ordered to oversee modifications to the airport's infrastructure to enable border and customs checks.
Earlier the airport's director, Sultan Satuyev, said the south Russian republic's airport would mainly handle flights to Kazakhstan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, where most Chechen expatriates live.
"Giving the airport international status is primarily an issue of the republic's political prestige, and economically this brings investment," he said.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has said that international flights from Grozny could start by the end of November.
The flight routes will include Saudi Arabia, where Muslims will be able to travel to the Hajj pilgrimage.
The North Caucasus republic witnessed two brutal separatist wars in the 1990s and early 2000s. Kadyrov has been credited for bringing relative peace to Chechnya and restoring its capital Grozny, but criticized for numerous rights abuses. However, the mainly Muslim republic has been swept by a new wave of violence in recent months.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).