“Radical opposition” “busy with immoral populism” over death of volunteers in Ukraine - PM

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday said the United National Movement opposition party was trying to score political points with the topic of killed Georgian volunteers. Photo: government press office 

Agenda.ge, 05 Dec 2022 - 15:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday accused the “radical” wing of the domestic opposition of “immoral populism and hypocrisy” over the topic of the deaths of Georgian volunteers in the war in Ukraine.

Sending his condolences over the recent deaths of five volunteers in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the head of the Government said the United National Movement - the largest opposition group in the country - was trying to use the “very sensitive matter for its own, narrow political interests”. 

In his criticism of the UNM, Garibashvili made references to the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, alleging the then-in power UNM authorities - including President Mikheil Saakashvili and Defence Minister David Kezerashvili - had “abandoned the dead and wounded [Georgian] servicemembers on the battlefield and ran away”, and adding representatives of the party “have no right to even make a mention” of armed forces professionals due to the history of the conflict.

[These] traitors, with their fake condolences, are trying to score some political points with the use of a very sensitive topic - [the death of Georgian volunteers]. I can not imagine something  more immoral than that”, Garibashvili said. 

The PM alleged the “radical opposition” was attempting to “spark tension and provocations” in Georgia since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with the efforts “prevented” by authorities. 

Calling the UNM a “war party”, he accused it of attempts to “drag Georgia” into the war and added party members also “encouraged” Georgian citizens to fight in Ukraine and “took them” for participation in the conflict. 

In contrast with the opposition’s “fake wording”, the top official said his Government had taken “all necessary actions” to ensure repatriation of the volunteers killed in action, covering the transportation expenses and burying them with military honours. “We are doing this without much noise or PR”, Garibashvili said and noted the “major task” of his Government was to “maintain peace and stability in the country”. 

Five volunteers from Georgia - Avto Rurua, Romeo Pirchakhia, Roland Kvaratskhelia, Badri Markelia and Merab Aladashvili - became the latest casualties among Georgian volunteers in Ukraine on Saturday, while Jambulat Khoperia died on Thursday, bringing the number of Georgian volunteers killed in the conflict to 33.`