Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Wednesday called on the Georgian Government to convene a Security Council meeting and discuss imposing a visa requirement for Russian citizens, after the Russian President on Wednesday announced his Government was revoking visas for Georgian nationals.
Zourabichvili’s call came after Vladimir Putin’s announcement of lifting of visa requirements for Georgian citizens. The move itself came after the revealing of the 11th package of sanctions by the European Union against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Georgian President called the move “completely unacceptable, inappropriate and untimely”, and said the development meant her country did not need to pursue possible resumption of direct flights with Russia, in reference to speculation over the recent months about the possible restoration of air connections.
She also called the Kremlin’s decision a “Russian provocation”.
Another Russian provocation!— Salome Zourabichvili (@Zourabichvili_S) May 10, 2023
Resuming direct flights and lifting visa ban with Georgia is unacceptable as long as Russia continues its aggression on Ukraine and occupies our territory!
This is a direct provocation to challenge the [Georgian] public and puts our Government in a big challenge. This will undoubtedly cause some kind of tension between the [domestic] parties, although I am sure that it will not cause tension in the public - it will cause a reaction from the public, which understands very well that when Russia takes these steps, it is acting in its own interests”, the Georgian President said.
“I call on the Government to make its position clear. It is time for the Security Council to meet in public and discuss imposition of a three-month visa requirement with Russia that is necessary for us due to our domestic challenges”, she said.
More control is needed over the Russian citizens who are entering [Georgia after leaving Russia] [and] who are staying in the country, and some measures must be taken to bring all of this into a normal, civilised framework”, Zourabichvili concluded.