The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine warned its “public figures” against “calling for acts of disobedience in Georgia,” alluding to former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s recent statements. It also dismissed Saakashvili’s accusations against Ukraine’s Tbilisi envoy Igor Dolgov.
Currently, a citizen of Ukraine and the Chair of its National Reform Council’s Executive Committee, former Georgian President on February 8 backed Georgian protesters defying COVID-19 regulations and endorsed “acts of disobedience” against the Georgian Dream government “within civil bounds.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said similar statements can be seen as “interference in the internal affairs” of Georgia, its strategic partner, a move that it “categorically opposes.”
Ukrainian MFA weighs in as Saakashvili, Dolgov come at odds
The Ministry also rebuffed Saakashvili’s accusations against Ukraine’s Tbilisi envoy Igor Dolgov. Former Georgian President suggested Dolgov was “deeply corrupted” and accused him of being inactive in regards to Georgia’s detention of two Ukrainian citizens, Volodymyr Dyachenko and Yuriy Khomych, as well as Georgian citizen Mykhailo Baturyn.
Saakashvili’s accusations came as Ambassador Dolgov, after the meeting in the Georgian Foreign Ministry on February 9, expressed concern over the ex Georgian President’s remarks impeding bilateral relations between Tbilisi and Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry asserted that its embassy in Tbilisi held numerous meetings with Georgian officials and prosecutors, to secure the detainees’ release.
Georgian authorities detained the three persons on-board a ship on November 28, suspected of illegally crossing the country’s border.
“We take this opportunity to once again call on the Georgian authorities to consider this case quickly and impartially, to change the measure of restraint, and to release the said citizens of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian Ministry concluded.
Later on February 10, the Batumi City Court ruled to keep the three suspects in pretrial detention. Media reports said Mykhailo Baturyn was a former member of Saakashvili’s security detail in Ukraine.