If the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili was in power today there would be a war in Georgia, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Wednesday.
Garibashvili accused a part of the political opposition in Georgia of using “baseless accusations” against the Government over its stance on the conflict in Ukraine, and said a “second Mariupol” would take place if Georgia had a Saakashvili-led government in the present, in reference to the Russian devastation of the Ukrainian city since the Kremlin’s invasion of the country in February.
The Government head said the “absolutely baseless accusations” against his Government were aimed “to somehow open a second front in Georgia [amid the war in Ukraine].”
If we imagine just for a second that [former Prime Minister and ruling Georgian Dream party founder] Bidzina Ivanishvili had not gotten rid of this destructive force [the United National Movement party] under Saakashvili [in 2012 elections], today I guarantee you that Saakashvili would have been in power again and there would have been another Mariupol [in Georgia],” Garibashvili told the local press.
Garibashvili also alleged Saakashvili’s clandestine return to Georgia ahead of the municipal elections in the country in October last year had been “with the sole purpose of destabilising the country, staging a revolution, [overseeing] mass killings, including the assassination of opposition leaders, and [holding] a coup”.
He added the developments would have meant "the start of a new war in the occupied country”, referencing the occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions of Georgia, recognised as independent states by Russia since its war with Georgia in 2008.
The PM said he had “crushed hopes for all supposed ‘friends’ who wanted a war in our country” by taking positions on the Ukraine war that avoided another conflict in Georgia, adding “there will be no second front and no second war” in the country under his Government.