Margvelashvili draws parallels between Georgia, Ukraine crises with Channel 4

President Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about the crisis in Eastern Europe with Channel 4 News., 04 Sep 2014 - 13:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili believes the crisis in Ukraine is partly due to the fact Russia was not held accountable for its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

Margvelashvili, who was currently in the United Kingdom to attend the NATO Summit, spoke about the crisis in Eastern Europe with Channel 4 News.

He drew parallels between the Georgia 2008 war and the current conflict in Ukraine and said there were similarities between the two acts of aggression, and despite what happened to Georgia six years ago, the situation "unfortunately [was] echoed in 2014 in Crimea”.

"I believe that these past six years were not used enough to make Russia pay for their aggressive moves and make them think twice before what happened in Ukraine,” the Georgian President said.

He believed the international community was "more active” in the current Ukrainian case than it was in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia.

"The war in Georgia was stopped by effective assistance and engagement of our allies […] but I feel in Ukraine the West is [more] concentrated [and] engaged and their main target is not to have another war in Europe,” he said.
"If you look at Georgia as an individual crisis, if you look at Ukraine as an individual crisis, then you are going to get other crisis as well. This is a unified policy. This is a spoken-out policy by Russia. Let me note that this is a policy that brings no good either to Russia or to the states engaged.”

Margvelashvili said the Georgian case was a clear example that showed "extremely well” that people who lived in Georgia’s currently occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions did not benefit from the war at all.

"Neither Russians benefit from it at all,” the President said.

In 2008 Russia defended its actions and said it was protecting people who lived in Georgia’s Tskhinvali region, which was why they became engaged in the war.

Meanwhile, while talking about NATO and its principle of protecting each member state, Margvelashvili said he believed not only members of the Alliance but also new democracies - countries who had made their own choice and this choice did not threaten anyone - should also be supported by allies "at least with a very strong political standpoint”.

Margvelashvili was asked to recall the August 2008 war and was questioned whether he believed Georgia would be much safer if it was a NATO member in 2008 or not.

"We would be safer if we were a NATO member and not only we would be much safer but Europe would be much safer,” he said.

"It’s the opportunity of trade for Europe, the energy security for Europe; it’s the opportunity to engage Asian resources in Europe and vice versa exactly through Georgia,” the President said.

Margvelashvili talked about Georgia-Russia and Georgia-NATO relations at the BBC HARDtalk too. He said more stable Georgia and Ukraine was not a threat but an opportunity for Russia. 

"The message that we are trying to send to Moscow is that peaceful, prosperous, stable Georgia is an opportunity for Russia versus the country on their southern border, which has problematic areas, which has pockets of uncontrolled territories where you have drugs, where you have trafficking.”

The Georgian President said his main goal was to make not only the Kremlin but also the NATO members understand that "a very clear policy towards the countries of Eastern Europe” was making "a much more stable and safer world”.