Department of State on Garibashvili’s ‘Sanctions Ineffective’ Remarks

Asked to comment on Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili’s remarks over international sanctions against Russia being ineffective amid Ukraine war, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price has said it was hard to argue with the effectiveness of these sanctions.

“You can look at any number of metrics regarding the toll that they have taken on the Russian economy,” Ned Price responded to a Georgian journalist during regular press briefing on March 10.

“What can’t be argued is that these measures lack teeth, that they lack strength, and I think you can see, in terms of the Russian economy, the strength that they carry,” the spokesperson continued.

In his words, “the ruble is now virtually worthless, literally worth less than a penny; the flight of international companies from Moscow; the fact that the Russian central bank has doubled its interest rate, something that would be unsustainable over the longer term; the fact that inflation is rising as a result; the fact that the Russian stock market has remained closed for days now, presumably as a means to prevent capital flight.”

But the State Department spokesperson noted that “few countries understand to the same extent the potential implications and consequences of Russian aggression than a country like Georgia, a country that in 2008 was itself invaded by Russian forces.”

“I can only imagine there are… many Georgians in the government and private citizens who are standing in solidarity with their counterparts in Ukraine,” he continued.

The U.S. official also took a note of “a tremendous – in some ways unexpected – amount of unity” within the international community, recalling that 141 countries condemned Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine. Georgia was one of the supporters and co-sponsors of the resolution.

Asked whether Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalling Ukrainian Ambassador from Tbilisi, and PM Garibashvili’s comments on sanctions was a concerning signal coming from Georgia, the country still occupied by Russia, Ned Price responded:

We are calling on all countries to stand up for not only the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, and the independence of Ukraine – really, what is at the center of this conflict – but to stand up for the broader principles that are at the heart of the rules-based order.”

“The same principle that Russia violated in 2008, when Russian forces invaded Georgia, is the same principle that Vladimir Putin is violating today: the idea that borders should be inviolable; that big states, big countries, big nations cannot bully small countries, small nations.”

“All of these things are at stake, and so that’s why, whether in Europe, whether in the Indo-Pacific, anywhere in between, we have called upon countries the world over to stand with Ukraine, and to stand with these broader principles,” Ned Price concluded.

Full comment by Ned Prince can be found here.

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