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Ukrainians bond with their suffering neighbour

By David Matsaberidze
Wednesday, September 10
On September 9, a delegation from the Ukrainian political party Nasha Ukrain (Our Ukraine) began an official 2 day visit to Georgia. At a meeting were held at the Parliament of Georgia, the head of Nasha Ukrain, Viacheslav Kirilenko, delivered a speech in Ukrainian, rather than the more usual Russian, as a protest against Russia’s actions in Georgia.

“The freedom and independence of Eastern European countries will be determined by the maintenance and preservation of Georgia’s independence”, Kirilenko said, adding that “as long as the struggle for Georgia’s integrity, and Ukrainian support for it, is the struggle for the unity and integrity of Ukraine,” Georgians and Ukrainians are united in their choice in favour of European civilization and the struggle for the maintenance of independence. “We will walk our chosen path together,” Kirilenko stated.

Kirilenko talked about recent developments in Ukraine. Referring to Timoshenko’s decision on the Georgian conflict, he commented: “Pro-Russian factions of the Ukrainian Rada have negatively interfered in its work, thus subverting the official Ukrainian position regarding the Georgian-Russian developments.” Nasha Ukrain has left the coalition formed in cooperation with Iulia Timoshenko, leading to a government crisis in that country.

Before the meeting the Vice-Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Mikheil Machavariani thanked the Ukrainian delegation for their support and for visiting Georgia in spite of the existing political situation in Ukraine. “Ukrainian support has crucial significance for Georgia during the tense situation with Russia,” Machavariani stressed. “The friendship between Georgia and Ukraine is firm and nothing can stand between these two countries. This friendship will endure,” the members of the delegation stressed at the meeting.

The delegation termed the visit of Ukrainian President Yushchenko to Georgia, along with the Presidents of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, as an expression of Ukrainian support for the territorial integrity of Georgia. As Kirilenko later stressed, Nasha Ukrain denounced the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation, as Ukraine strongly supports and recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia. “The plan for peaceful resolution of the conflict, also known as the Sarkozy Plan, should be implemented immediately, followed by Russian military withdrawal from the region,” Kirilenko stated, expressing his concern over the use of Russian Black Sea Naval Ships, based in Sevastopol, during the Russian aggression. Referring to the case as a dangerous precedent for both Georgia and Ukraine, Kirilenko confirmed that “new and strict rules have been set for the movement of Black Sea ships and any kind of jets on the territory controlled by Ukraine.”

According to Kirilenko the integration of Ukraine and Georgia with the NATO Collective Security System is a necessary precondition for the peaceful development of these countries, which would thereby bring stability and security to the regions. “Membership of NATO will enhance the democratic transformations in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as to the economic development and progression of these countries to EU integration,” Kirilenko mentioned. The members of the delegation stressed that the brutal Russian interference in internal Georgian affairs was obvious, confirming that the same scenario is being prepared for Ukraine as well. “Open confrontation between politicians is the first signals in this direction”, Kirilenko stated.

The Ukrainian delegation met Minister of Defense of Georgia Davit Kezerashvili, who thanked the guests for their support during the war and provided them with all the official documents proving the legality of arms purchase in Ukraine by the Ministry of Defence. Later the delegation visited regions damaged by the Russian aggression, where they met members of the local population, although Russian soldiers restricted their free movement in designated areas. The Vice-Premier of Ukraine Ivan Kyrylenko has stated that he hopes Russian troops will leave Georgian territory in the near future.