Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said today that Georgia will not impose unilateral sanctions against Russia. This happened a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees abolishing the visa requirement for Georgians visiting Russia for less than 90 days and banning direct flights of Russian airlines to the Caucasus country.
On Wednesday, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili criticized Putin’s move, describing it as a “provocation” and describing it as “unacceptable” at a time when Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its occupation of part of Georgian territory continues.
Tbilisi has territorial disputes with Moscow over two provinces that were separated from Georgia with Russian help and which Tbilisi considers occupied due to the presence of Russian garrisons.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Prime Minister Garibashvili as saying, “We will not impose unilateral economic sanctions against Russia, because such a step will create big problems for our residents and businesses.”
Tbilisi did not join the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in response to the incursion of Russian forces into Ukraine, for which the government in Tbilisi was criticized by the opposition. However, Garibashvili said today that Russian companies and citizens who have been sanctioned cannot operate on Georgian soil.
“When it comes to trade and economic cooperation with Russia, this is one of our interests. Everyone should deal with this fact with understanding, and above all, our friends, if they are really our friends and have no other intentions,” the prime minister said to the West. He was asking “European friends who advocate suspending trade with Russia and not resuming flights (to Russia), why don’t they do it themselves and stop dealing” with the Russians. Interfax quoted Garibashvili as saying: “In the last year alone, Europe paid Russia about 300 billion.” The prime minister added that the Georgian people desire peace, stability and unification of the country. (ČTK, Interfax)
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