Ukraine's former president Petro Poroshenko has urged citizens of his country to travel to Georgian resorts and counter Russia's efforts to "weaken Georgia economically" following president Vladimir Putin's ban on flights to the country.
In a video address released through his Twitter account, the former head of the state likened Russian government's announcement of banning flights to Georgia starting July 8 to "methods" used by the Kremlin against Ukraine.
Saying the moves were aimed at striking Georgia's tourism industry, Poroshenko called on Ukrainians planning for vacation to pick the Caucasus country as their destination in solidarity with the state.
უკრაინელების გულები საქართველოსთვის ძგერს https://t.co/LWUqS7jsAv— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) June 24, 2019
We the Ukrainians certainly should not leave our Georgian brothers in trouble. I want to call on our compatriots who are planning a vacation abroad or in the occupied Crimea, to reorient to Georgia.
Go to the magnificent, sunny resorts of Georgia, where the Georgians will demonstrate their hospitality.
The former president also asked the Ukrainian government and infrastructure ministry to provide discounted travels to Georgia during the time.
Concluding his address, Poroshenko also proposed changing the official name for Georgia in Ukraine from the Russian-derived "Gruziya" to "Sakartvelo", the latter reflecting the way Georgians address their country.
The proposal follows a recent change by Georgian state agencies to refer to Ukraine's capital with the native form "Kiyv", instead of Russian-based "Kiev", a move mentioned by the politician in his video.
Russian officials called for boycott of Georgian resorts and trade goods in the wake of protests in Tbilisi that erupted last week in response to a Russian Duma MP's address to the Georgian parliament from the seat of it speaker.
Political opposition and citizens blocked Rustaveli Avenue to voice their anger at the incident on the backdrop of Russian military's occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).
Russian state officials called the events "Russophobic", while president Putin suspended flights to Georgia starting July 8.