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Olympics-Sochi brings Aeroflot on board for 2014 Winter Games

MOSCOW, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship airline, has become a Tier One sponsor of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics after signing a partnership agreement with the host city on Wednesday.

The deal is valued at over $100 million and the carrier said it intends to introduce a series of new flights, including opening direct routes to the Black Sea resort.

The agreement was signed by Aeroflot general director Vitaly Savelyev and Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko.

“Teaming up with Aeroflot means a reliable partnership for us, a partnership with the company well known not only in our country but also around the world,” Chernyshenko said in a statement.

“I am confident that our cooperation will prove vital in delivering the Games in accordance with the highest international standards.”

State-controlled Aeroflot has been awarded General Partner status for the 2014 Games.

Sochi has already signed up several of Russia’s largest companies, including state-run oil giant Rosneft and Sberbank, the country’s biggest bank, raising more than $650 million.

Money from the private sector should come in handy as the Russian government announced earlier this year it was slashing its state budget for the 2014 Games by more than $600 million due to the economic crisis.

Russia made an initial pledge to spend $12 billion in private and public money on developing the Black Sea resort, where much of the infrastructure will have to be built from scratch.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; editing by Ken Ferris;

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