Georgia “most supportive” to Ukraine “considering circumstances” - Parliament Speaker

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday said his country is most vocal in its support for Ukraine in international formats. Photo: Parliament press office, 20 Feb 2023 - 18:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday said his country was “most supportive” to Ukraine, amid the latter’s defence from the Russian invasion, “considering the circumstances” related to the presence of Russian troops in Georgia’s occupied regions and a lack of “any international political or economic umbrella” protecting the country. 

Papuashvili’s comment in the legislative body came following claims by opposition MP Giorgi Vashadze that the Georgian Parliamentary delegation had rejected Kyiv’s invitation to attend events marking the anniversary of the start of the conflict on Friday. 

In his comments on Monday, Vashadze said the rejection of the invitation, which was confirmed by ruling Georgian Dream party MP Irakli Zarkua early on Monday, was “shameful and shocking”.

In his response, the Parliament Speaker alleged Vashadze “loves neither Georgia nor Ukraine”, and pointed to the three wars Georgia had endured with Russia over the recent decades and the continued presence of Russian troops in the country’s territory, in addition to the absence of either the “NATO umbrella” or the “economic solidarity” of the European Union to shield Georgia in the precarious circumstances.

Papuashvili said Vashadze had been engaged in "political populism" and "undermining" his country's image. Photo: Parliament press office.

Despite these serious challenges, Tbilisi is most vocal in its support for Ukraine in international formats”, Papuashvili said. 

The Speaker noted the topic of the invitation had been raised during the latest communication between friendship groups in the Georgian and Ukrainian legislative bodies, adding the exchange had emphasised Tbilisi’s support for Ukraine that was “much more than any country would show taking its circumstances into account”.

He also stressed that “fake accusations” towards Georgia by some domestic opposition figures and Ukrainian officials, made “in contrast” to Tbilisi’s efforts of support for the country, were “particularly regrettable and disappointing”. 

Allegations on the use of the Georgian territory and financial institutions by Russia to circumvent international sanctions imposed on it for invading Ukraine were highlighted by Papuashvili as examples.

One year has passed since the outbreak of hostilities, and the period has reaffirmed Tbilisi’s commitment to preventing any attempts by Russia to evade sanctions through the use of its territory”, Papuashvili said, noting “no such cases” had been confirmed despite the higher risks of potential violations due to the country bordering Russia.

“Time has shown Georgia is most conscientious when it comes to the prevention of evading sanctions [by Russia]”, he added.