Anri Okhanashvili, a ruling Georgian Dream party MP and the Head of Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, said on Friday denying travellers entry to Georgia for their nationality was “wrong”, in comments on recent calls by the domestic opposition to impose visa requirements for Russian and Belarusian citizens on the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Pointing at the legal aspect, Okhanashvili suggested that the ban could be applied to those arrivals only who had violated the Georgian Law on the Occupied Territories through visiting the country’s Russian-controlled Abkhazia and Tskhivali (South Ossetia) regions without any official permit from Tbilisi.
Any individual who violates the Law on the Occupied Territories, no matter he (she) is Russian, Belarusian, American, German, or whoever, will be subject to legal action”, Okhanashvili said,noting that the Georgian state bodies were working “round the clock” to ensure peace and security.
In remarks to the opposition’s calls, the ruling party chair Irakli Kobakhidze said on Friday that the “xenophobic campaign” aimed at inciting aggression against Russian citizens, which “should lead to escalation and incidents”.
Speaking about “security threats” and “uncontrolled influx” of Russian and Belarussian citizens, the Lelo for Georgia opposition party earlier this week called for the introduction of visa requirements for Russian and Belarus citizens.