Georgian Parliament Speaker highlights country’s “unprecedented support” for Ukraine despite absence of “security umbrella”

  • Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Friday responded to the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Photo: Parliament press office, 24 Feb 2023 - 17:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Friday praised his country’s “unprecedented support” for Ukraine in its defence from Russia, with the official noting the backing was being facilitated despite the “absence of any security umbrella” for Georgia and Russian troops being stationed in its occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions. 

The comments came on the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and following critical comments by a part of the domestic opposition on the absence of an official Georgian representation in Kyiv to mark the date. 

In response to the criticism, Papuashvili stressed his body had received “no official invitation” and the topic had only been “raised” during the latest exchange between the friendship groups in the two countries’ legislative bodies. He said the Georgian President had not received such an invitation either. 

Papuashvili also hit back at what he said were efforts by domestic and foreign figures to “diminish the importance of support” from the Georgian Government, which he said had stood by Ukraine when Kyiv was besieged by Russian troops in the early weeks of the conflict.

He also pointed out the Georgian diplomatic representation in the capital had been maintained while diplomatic offices of foreign states in the city were being evacuated.

The door of the Georgian Embassy was not closed even for a minute at that time, and the Georgian flag was not lowered. That was how the Georgian Government, on behalf of its people, stood by Ukraine”, Papuashvili said, adding his country had taken “no steps back” in support of the country over the past year. 

He also noted “every nation” in the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, a platform initiated by the United States in 2022, was protected by their membership of either NATO or the EU, with the exception of Georgia, placing the country in a particular circumstance in its expression of support for Ukraine. 

He also emphasised Tbilisi’s joining of more than 400 resolutions in support of Ukraine, including the latest one by the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, which was co-sponsored by Georgia. 

Condemning the “unprecedented aggression” by Russia against the Ukrainian people, Papuashvili said the Georgian Government's support for Ukraine in the conflict was “unconditional” “despite some disappointments”, in reference to statements by some Ukrainian officials who have been critical of Georgian authorities’ policies since the start of the war.