Ukrainian diplomat’s comment on possible evacuation of stranded citizens in Georgia “shameful” - ruling party Head

Irakli Kobakhidze, the Head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Tuesday responded to recent claims by Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Kasianov. Photo: Georgian Dream press office, 24 Jan 2023 - 20:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

Irakli Kobakhidze, the Head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Tuesday called “shameful” the recent statement of Andriy Kasianov, the Ukrainian Charge D'affaires in Georgia, on possible evacuation of Ukrainians stranded in Georgia due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, in case of resumption of flights between Georgia and Russia. 

In his interview for European Pravda on Tuesday, the Ukrainian diplomat said his office was discussing the possibility of the evacuation, as the resumption of flights could cause a “mass influx” of Russian nationals to Georgia and “subsequent threats” for the Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war. 

The Georgian Government is “accustomed to such irrelevant statements” by the Ukrainian official, Kobakhidze stressed, adding they would have to evacuate their citizens if the Georgian authorities had accepted Kyiv’s earlier request to hand over Buk missiles.  

In his earlier interview for the same media this month, Kasianov had criticised the Georgian Government for rejecting Kyiv’s calls to provide the missiles purchased by Georgia from Ukraine ahead of the Russia-Georgia 2008 conflict, as well as the US-made anti-tank Javelins. 

If we had handed the weapons, Georgia would have been involved in the [Russia-Ukraine] conflict and there would have been the need for evacuation of not only Ukranians but also Georgian citizens”, Kobakhidze said. 

In his remarks on the direct flights between Russia and Georgia, the MP said the flights had been “unilaterally suspended” by the Russian Government in 2019, and it was “completely up to the latter” to change its stance. 

The Georgian Government is unable to interfere if Russia decides to resume the flights. It can be only said that such a decision will benefit up to a million Georgians living in Russia”, Kobakhidze noted.

“No mass influx” of Russian citizens has been recorded in the country following the launch of hostilities in Ukraine last year, and in terms of security, no threats have been created either for Ukrainian or Georgian citizens, he emphasised.