Russia says it is ready to restore relations with Georgia ‘to the extent Georgia is ready for this,’ expressing hope that ‘common sense will prevail in Tbilisi’ and it will start developing relations with its currently Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions ‘as independent states.’
At a press briefing yesterday Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department Alexander Bikantov said that ‘Russia has never equated the Saakashvili regime (Georgia’s third president) and the people of Georgia.’
Bikantov said that ‘Russia saved the people of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) from destruction’ back in 2008, during the Russia-Georgia war which led to the suspension of diplomatic relations between the countries.
????#Bikantov: Russia has never equated Mikheil Saakashvili’s criminal regime with the people of Georgia❗️— MFA Russia ???????? (@mfa_russia) August 5, 2021
☝️ We are ready to mend fences as long as and to the extent that Georgia feels ready to do so. We hope common sense will prevail in Tbilisi. pic.twitter.com/C8ngVjNjnZ
He stated that ‘Russia’s cooperation with the Abkhaz and South Ossetian republics has long become a stabilising factor in the South Caucasus’, adding that the major goal of the Geneva International discussions, which is focused on the Georgian conflict issues, is to encourage the signing of a non-use of force agreement between Tbilisi and its occupied regions.
It is particularly urgent considering Tbilisi’s course at expedited Euro-Atlantic integration and its involvement in US and NATO plans on ‘deterring’ Moscow,” Bikantov said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has described Bikantov’s statements as ‘disinformation and propagandist.’
The ministry said that ‘no parallel reality exists’ and that the international community and the law stand unanimously that Russia is occupier.
The recent judgement of the European Court of Human Rights has approved that Russia is the country which is exercising effective control on the occupied territories of Georgia and is responsible for all violations there,” said the ministry.
The ministry said it is Russia and its ‘aggressive actions’ which hinders restoration of diplomatic ties.
The Georgian Dream ruling party officials, which took steps to restore economic ties with Russia shortly after taking office in 2013, have responded that the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia, until the Georgian territories are occupied, ‘is very unlikely.’
Considering the red lines which exist (the occupation of Georgian territories) diplomatic relations will not be restored. However, under the Georgian Dream leadership, the discussion has always been and will continue on humanitarian and economic issues,” Head of the ruling party Irakli Kobakhidze said.
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze reiterated the same on diplomatic relations and stated that ‘for instance, the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Georgia is an economic issue and many Georgians are interested in it.’
Russia suspended direct flights with Georgia following the protests in Tbilisi in June 2019 when Russian MPs were forced to leave the country.
The several-month protests were sparked by the action of the Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov who took the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker during an international religious conference in the Georgian capital.