Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday said the country’s Government imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine would lead to “retaliatory measures” that would ultimately “threaten the security” of the country.
Commenting following latest calls by a part of the domestic opposition for the ruling party to impose sanctions on the Kremlin, Papuashvili said “any action” related to introduction of visa requirements, border closures and flight bans equalled sanctions and implied an “escalation” of the country’s relations with Russia.
Escalation implies that we are entering a spiral the results of which cannot be predicted in advance. So when you impose sanctions, of course it is expected that there will be counter-sanctions, it is expected that there will be retaliatory measures, which ultimately means that there will be a threat to the security of our country, the economic well-being of our country”, Papuashvili said.
“Let us remind everyone that the Russian army is stationed 30 kilometres from the capital city of Tbilisi and 500 metres from the main highway connecting western and eastern Georgia. This is the greatest military risk our country faces”, he said.
In addition, you know that there is also a great danger that Russia will move from the policy of occupation to the policy of annexation”, the Parliament official added in reference to the ongoing occupation of the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions of Georgia since the 2008 war between the two states.
Papuashvili alleged the domestic groups calling for sanctions on Russia were “actually telling us that we should take the risk and enter into an escalation with Russia, [and] therefore [face] a possible military confrontation with Russia”.
It is important [to note] that those who tell us that we should impose sanctions on Russia are not providing guarantees of security or economic security”, he also pointed out.
The Parliament Speaker added the country’s Georgian citizens “supported and shared” the policy of the ruling team, as demonstrated by “various polls” and the results of the midterm elections last month, where he said the ruling Georgian Dream party had received more votes than in the 2021 municipal elections.