Georgia could have been turned into a “shooting range” if opposition leaders had managed to take control of the country, Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili claims.
He said Kiev had tried to pressure Tbilisi into joining the conflict with Russia.
- In an address to parliament on Friday, Garibashvili said that Ukrainian attempts to open a “second front” against Russia in Georgia were “not an interpretation, and not a legend,” but a “direct quote” from what was said at a press conference.
- “These people [the Georgian opposition] are their [Ukrainian officials] allies. Imagine if these people had been at the helm of the Georgian government today,” Garibashvili said.
“Does anybody have any doubt that a ‘second front’ would have been opened in Georgia, turning the country into a ‘shooting range?’”
Tbilisi has so far refrained from taking part in the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, and Garibashvili stated in April that his country would not join the fighting, as it would run counter to Georgia’s national interests.
- Shortly after Russia launched its military operation in late February, a number of officials in Kiev, including the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Aleksey Danilov, called on several countries, including Japan, Poland, Moldova, and Georgia, to open up a series of “second fronts” by attacking Russia and seizing such border regions as the Kuril Islands and Kaliningrad.
No countries have so far taken Kiev up on the request.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
- In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession.