Although “provocations” are expected, Russia lacks levers to pressure Georgia to dissuade it from signing the Association Agreement with the EU, PM Irakli Garibashvili said.
“We do not share assessment that Ukrainian scenario might be repeated in Georgia because we are not as dependent on Russia as Ukraine. Russia has no such levers like it had and has in respect of Ukraine; therefore risk in this regard is minimal,” the PM said at a news conference on January 16.
“Provocations are expected. We’ve been witnessing these provocations throughout last year including along the occupation line as the process of ‘borderisation’ was ongoing,” he said.
“There might be provocations other than that too, but we do not expect anything extraordinary. What can be worse than what we already have – 20 percent of our territories are occupied; so I do not know what should be expected more than that. Russia has no economic levers and our country is not as dependent on Russia as Ukraine, so I and our government do not expect repeat of a scenario similar to [the one of Ukraine],” Garibashvili said.
During his visit to Estonia, Georgian parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said on January 13 that after Ukraine, Georgia might be Russia’s next target of pressure and Georgia will face “crucial” months up until signature of the Association Agreement with the EU, targeted before September.
“We do not think that Russia left alone Georgia and the European Union,” Usupashvili said, adding that it would be wrong to think that after Ukraine Russia considers that job is done.
“We do not have that feeling; we believe that Georgia may be next in the row, which could experience problems from now until final signature of the Association Agreement,” the Georgian parliament speaker said.