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Georgia Condemns Duma’s Appeal for Donetsk, Luhansk Independence

Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani condemned today the Russian State Duma’s February 15 appeal to President Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of Moscow-backed self-proclaimed entities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The top Georgian diplomat dubbed the Duma appeal “particularly alarming” and “categorically unacceptable,” going on to stress that if Moscow moves to recognize the independence of the entities “it will further add to the existing severe situation and threaten the international treaties which Ukraine is a signatory of alongside international partners.” 

During his address to the reception at the Ukrainian Embassy in Tbilisi marking the Day of Unity declared by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid fears of Russian invasion, FM Zalkaliani also expressed concern over the “large-scale military mobilization near the borders of Ukraine.”

Recalling “Russian aggression in 2008, which resulted in the occupation of a large part of Georgian territories and recognition by the Russian Federation,” the top diplomat highlighted that Ukraine “is going through the same ordeal today.” 

In his speech, FM Zalkaliani also stressed that Russia’s “disregard of fundamental principles of international law” has threatened the European security architecture as a whole.   

Referring to Moscow’s demands for NATO to revoke its 2008 pledge that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of the alliance, the Georgian top diplomat reiterated that no one has the right to bar free states from choosing “their own security alliances.”

He expressed confidence that Georgia would along with the Ukrainian people achieve “our historical, well-deserved choice.”

“We once again express our solidarity and strong support to the brotherly Ukrainian people in the fight for freedom,” FM Zalkaliani said, adding “we always stand by your side because we know well the price of freedom and fighting for it.”

The reception, hosted by Ukraine’s Ambassador to Georgia Igor Dolgov, was also attended by MP Archil Talakvadze, the chair of the friendship group with the Parliament of Ukraine, representatives of the President’s Administration, Defense Ministry, as well as the Ukrainian Diaspora, political parties, civil society and the media.

“Ukraine feels and values the solidarity of our Georgian friends,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated today in response to his Georgian counterpart.

“Both out corageous nations know too well that freedom is not free,” he asserted, adding it is “important that in this common struggle Ukraine and Georgia have each other’s back.”

NB: This article was updated with a response by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at 17:19, February 16.

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