Georgia’s President Salome Zurabishvili has made strongly-worded statements about Russia in her interviews today with France 24, French TV channel.
“We cannot let a totalitarian, dictatorial regime move forward without reacting,” said President Zurabishvili, who is visiting Paris and Brussels this week to seek more support to Georgia amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“I believe that we are all threatened. Europe has thought for too long that the Russian threat was not for it,” she told France 24 in the interview recorded in her native French language.
In another interview, recorded in English with the same channel, the Georgian President said “no one is adding to the escalation except Putin,” dismissing Russia’s claimed worries about NATO/EU expansion.
The President asserted that Putin used “the pretext of so-called danger to justify for himself, for Russian population, his acts of aggression.”
But President Zurabishvili said now “Putin is discovering that there is united Europe.”
“He has miscalculated,” Georgian President went on: “Putin has to discover that he cannot impress and dictate to everyone as maybe he thought he could.”
In Zurabishvili’s words, one of the reasons why Putin has turned into Putin that we are seeing is that “there has been self-restriction on the western side” over the fears of possibly provoking Putin.
But in this case of Ukraine, she said, nothing has been provoked. Putin went on to invade the neighboring country even if “there was no clear or imminent danger for Putin coming from NATO,” she said.
Georgia’s President also noted that today’s “all-out invasion of Ukraine is a result of gradual [retreat] from the Europeans, and also, from the Americans.”
She nevertheless hailed Europeans that “now have constituted this unique, united front which is really a major historical fact from now on Putin will have to deal on.”
“It was always used that he could play the Europeans one against the other. If that’s no longer the case, neither can he [Putin] play Europeans versus Americans. It’s a different set of reality for him.”