PM rejects media “misinterpretation” of comments on Georgian volunteers in Ukraine being affiliated with opposition

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday said “this [loss of volunteers’ lives] is a tragedy, a great loss, and we all feel it”. Photo: Government press office, 07 Dec 2022 - 18:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday rejected as “lies” the reports by “certain media outlets” who had “misinterpreted” his remarks on all Georgian volunteers in Ukraine as being affiliated with the United National Movement domestic opposition party.

In comments to media, the Head of the Government stressed “concrete volunteers”, like Mamuka Mamulashvili, were “closely connected with the UNM and big supporters of [former President Mikheil] Saakashvili”, while others were former servicemembers, law enforcement officers and “ordinary citizens” fighting in the Russia-Ukraine conflict “due to their beliefs, [patriotic] spirit and idealistic attitudes”. 

This individual [in reference to Mamulashvili], whose sister was an UNM MP, is participating in online conferences [from the battlefield]. It is my understanding [that] if one fights, they should be fighting without political engagement. I do not understand such style [or behaviour]”, Garibashvili said.  

The PM again sent his “sincere condolences” to the 33 Georgian volunteers killed in the conflict since March, and pointed out his office was doing its “utmost” to ensure repatriation of deceased volunteers and their burial with military honours. 

This [loss of volunteers’ lives] is a tragedy, a great loss, and we all feel it. I want to ask everyone - including the most radical, degraded, immoral opposition - to stop speculating about the death of individuals, especially those in the war. It is completely immoral and hypocritical”, Garibashvili said. 

“I want to wish all our citizens fighting in Ukraine today - regardless of their political beliefs - good health and a peaceful return to the homeland. it is my sincere wish”, he noted. 

Recalling his time as the country’s Interior and Defence Minister, Garibashvili highlighted “everyone knows my [special] attitude and respect to both acting and retired servicemembers and law enforcement officers”.