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Is the Euro-Atlantic route Georgia’s true priority?

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Wednesday, April 14
After Danielson's failed mediation, Georgian politics found itself in a deeper crisis, compounded by growing frustration and a critical attitude towards the country from Western friends. Doubts were also expressed about the seriousness of the Georgian government's statement on Euro-Atlantic integration.

Doubts were also expressed about the seriousness of the Georgian government's statement on Euro-Atlantic integration. A clear confirmation of the seriousness of this statement would be to reach an agreement with European mediation, but in today's reality, we can not say when.

A clear confirmation of the ‘seriousness’ of the statement would be to reach an agreement with European mediation, but, it is hard to determine when is it going to be possible. However, there is another way to confirm the seriousness of the Euro-Atlantic integration application - to make a clear statement in support of Ukraine by the Georgian authorities.

The situation in eastern Ukraine has sharply deteriorated since the end of March. According to the head of the General Staff of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak, Russia is increasing its military presence along the borders of Ukraine. Russian troops are also mobilized in the previously occupied Crimea.

“It is difficult to talk about Russia's intentions,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon. A number of experts do not rule out that hostilities will resume and Russia will try to expand the separatist enclave to the point of securing a land connection with Crimea. Russia even denies involvement in the conflict and sees the ongoing confrontation in eastern Ukraine as a struggle between the Ukrainian central government and the Donetsk-Lugansk separatist forces.

After a phone conversation with US President Joe Biden on April 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “Ukraine will not be left alone against Russian aggression.” According to him, the only way to end the war in Donbas is NATO. "Giving MAP to Ukraine will be a real signal for Russia,” Zelensky said in a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The United States supports Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO and calls on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and to stop escalating tensions. Unwavering support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty has been expressed by the European Union and NATO.

Ukraine's aspiration to NATO was immediately followed by a reaction from Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision to join NATO would only exacerbate the domestic crisis as millions of people in breakaway republics oppose joining NATO. The Russian army is moving on its territory and this should not bother other countries, because “the Russian Federation does not pose a threat to other states.”

When the West clearly expresses its support for Ukraine in the face of possible Russian aggression, the same support for Ukraine is expected from Georgia. Ukraine is Georgia's strategic partner and, also, Georgia is as much affected by Russia as Ukraine.

Former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has criticized the Georgian government for its inadequate support for Ukraine. His statement was quite harsh. "When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, not only did I speak out, but I was in the middle of a hot war. I am very surprised. "How do you expect Russia to condemn the occupation of your territories by the international community when you do not speak up about a threat against Ukraine?"

Georgian Dream, traditionally, pursues a policy of "non-irritation" and avoids harsh statements due to Russia's unceremonious actions in the occupied territories of Georgia. According to the opposition bloc, this reveals the true face of the current government and the real policies pursued by them.

After the statement of the former President of Estonia, European Georgia’s Giga Bokeria expressed explained that Georgia has a moral obligation and it is in its national interest to support the Ukrainian people. When the issue of aggression against Ukraine is on the agenda of world politics, Georgia, with the support of Ukraine, should remind everyone that Georgia is also an object of aggression by Russia.

The statement of the former President of Estonia angered the Georgian authorities and this accusation was considered wrong. OnApril 7, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaniani spoke by telephone with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba. "We are grateful for Georgia's strong solidarity and readiness to work together for international consolidation towards Ukraine," is noted in the statement of the Ukrainian Minister. Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Georgian Parliament, also spoke about Georgia's support for Ukraine and noted that the Committee will receive a statement in support of Ukraine.

The former President of Estonia also called on the Georgian authorities to make such a statement, leaving no doubt about Georgia's position.

As for the position of the people, a new study by the International Republican Institute was recently published, according to which 69% of respondents consider the United States to be Georgia's most important political partner, followed by the European Union (54%) and Ukraine (23%).