On August 19, in his first official visit as the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Andrii Taran visited Tbilisi and discussed the issues of bilateral defense cooperation with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
The two ministers signed the Program of Cooperation between the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine and Georgia for 2020.
“The agreements we have reached will help strengthen defense capabilities of our countries, increase operational and combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Defense Forces of Georgia,” noted Minister Taran.
Defense Ministry of Ukraine stated that the parties discussed priorities of bilateral defense cooperation in the areas of strategic communications, cyber defense, military-technical sphere, joint participation in military exercises, and implementation of NATO standards in the armed forces.
It added that the Ministers paid special attention to the state and prospects of implementation of defense reform tasks and that Minister Taran shared Ukraine’s experience of transformation of the Armed Forces while countering Russian aggression.
“One of the common challenges for Ukraine and Georgia is to restore the territorial integrity of our states and liberate the territories occupied by Russia,” Minister Taran went on, “this is the goal of our strategic partnership, one of the main elements of which is cooperation in the field of security and defense.”
Glad to host my Ukrainian colleague Andrii Taran within his first official visit as a Minister of Defence to Georgia, which underlines the level of our time-proven cooperation, partnership and friendship. pic.twitter.com/sq0fKpbMkz
— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) August 19, 2020
The Georgian Defense Ministry, on its part, said the ministers discussed security issues in the Black Sea region, strengthening democratic institutions, advancing defense capabilities and interoperability with NATO defense forces.
Minister Garibashvili thanked his Ukrainian colleague for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and reiterated “Georgia’s support towards Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of conflicts.”
Ukrainian Minister visit to Tbilisi comes amid strained relations between the two countries after former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, wanted by the Georgian authorities, was appointed as the head of the Executive Reform Committee of Ukraine. Angered by the move, Tbilisi recalled Ambassador from Ukraine in May.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia complained yesterday that his Georgian colleague’s continued absence from Kyiv hurts bilateral relations.