Georgian Gov’t being “honest to Ukraine” unlike Kyiv - Parliament Speaker

Shalva Papuashvili, the Georgian Parliament Speaker, on Friday said Kyiv’s “sheltering” of wanted Georgian officials had not been an honest approach to Georgia. Photo: Parliament press office, 07 Jul 2023 - 16:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

Shalva Papuashvili, the Georgian Parliament Speaker, on Friday said his country’s Government had been “honest” to Ukraine both “before and after” of its invasion by Russia last year, and said the attitude had not been reflected by Kyiv, which he accused of “sheltering” wanted Georgian officials.

The comment came following the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s allegations on Monday about the Georgian Government’s “killing” of Mikheil Saakashvili, the imprisoned former President of Georgia who currently holds Ukrainian citizenship, in detention “on the instructions of Moscow”.

Zelenskyy made the allegation as he announced the Georgian Ambassador was being sent back to Tbilisi to hold consultations leading to a transfer of Saakashvili to Ukraine. 

Papuashvili contrasted Georgia’s commitment to preventing Russia’s evasion of the sanctions imposed on the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine with policies of the Ukrainian authorities, who he said had “not only sheltered but promoted” wanted Georgian officials, including Saakashvili, following the change of Government in Georgia in 2012.

Saakashvili chaired the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council before his arrest in Tbilisi on his return to the country in October 2021.

The Parliament Speaker also mentioned Zurab Adeishvili, the wanted former Prosecutor General and Justice Minister of Georgia, who currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, and Gia Lortkipanidze, a former law enforcement official who is serving as the Deputy Chief of Ukraine’s Counter-Intelligence Service but is also wanted in Georgia. 

Papuashvili claimed Lortkipanidze had ensured Saakashvili’s clandestine return to Georgia after eight years to “spark unrest” and allow “bloodshed and tanks on the country’s streets” in 2021.