Annexed Crimea plans to open first direct international flights to Armenia this spring, a senior lawmaker in the region’s Moscow-backed parliament told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Friday.

The Simferopol-Yerevan route will launch in March, marking the first international flight to the Crimean peninsula since Moscow seized it from Ukraine in 2014, said the lawmaker, Alexei Chernyak.

“This will serve as a good example for China, Turkey and other countries and airlines,” Chernyak, who heads the Crimean legislature’s tourism committee, told RIA.

The Transport Ministry told the state-run TASS news agency that it asked the Foreign Ministry to approve the new route.

“The Transport Ministry asked the Foreign Ministry to consider the issue and, in the event of a favorable ruling, send a note to Armenia,” its press service was quoted as saying.

Armenia’s transport ministry and civil aviation authority, however, denied that there were plans to launch flights to and from Crimea.