Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze participated today alongside Ukrainian, Swedish and Finnish colleagues in the extraordinary NATO Ministerial in Brussels, held amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“The issue of Georgia has never been so topical in NATO before,” Minister Burchuladze said after the session. “Each Minister clearly took note of Georgia’s challenges alongside Ukraine.”
The Georgian Defense Minister stressed that his colleagues from NATO member states spoke about supporting Georgia to achieve its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, “which is a choice of the people.”
Speaking about the war in Ukraine, Minister Burchuladze noted “the entire civilized world comprehends that escalation could lead us to a catastrophe.”
“With sanctions and other mechanisms, in the medium and the long term the aim will be achieved,” he added.
Alluding to the Georgian Government’s refusal to join the sanctions, Minister Burchuladze claimed allies do not have any doubts “that our team has the correct policy.”
He further noted that the Defense Ministers also discussed the possibility for the EU to grant Georgia and Ukraine the status of candidates in an accelerated fashion.
NATO chief talks more support for Georgia
In a press conference following the Extraordinary meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence on March 16, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of supporting Georgia “not only [with] words, but also in deeds.”
“I call on NATO allies and others to provide support to Georgia and that was the message also from allied leaders at the meeting,” he said.
The head of NATO reflected that one of the lessons learned after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is that “we need to support these countries which are at risk now. It’s better to support and help them now than after a military intervention.”
“I think we need to realize that we are faced with a totally new security reality,” the NATO Secretary General said, acknowledging that, outside of Ukraine, the war is “also putting more pressure” on neighboring countries that are not members of NATO or the EU — “countries at risk,” including Georgia.
NB: The article was updated at 12:10 on March 17 with comments from the NATO Secretary General.