Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, visiting southern Rustavi city today, ruled out Georgia helping Russia to evade sanctions.
Rebuffing Kyiv’s allegations on Tbilisi aiding Russian smuggling transit, PM Garibashvili said “Georgia will never allow the transit of sanctioned goods [through its territory].”
“This accusation that [Georgia’s] Government is involved in it is absurd.”
The Prime Minister said the Georgian authorities are in “full coordination” with international partners, exchanging any information related to similar “sensitive issues.”
“I think there should be no questions here.”
“It was very unfortunate for me to hear this slander from Ukraine,” the Georgian Prime Minister continued, criticizing “unfounded” allegations from Kyiv.
He said “this was a politically motivated statement with no evidence or fact [backing up the claim.] This is, very unfortunate, of course.”
“I wish Ukraine and Ukrainians for this war, a devastating war, which is a great challenge not only for Ukraine but for us, the entire region, entire Europe and the world too, to end soon.”
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Intelligence claimed on April 4 that Georgia’s political leadership had instructed security services not to interfere with the activities of Russian smugglers, trying to circumvent international sanctions through a route in Georgia.
Georgia’s Finance Ministry and the State Security Service rebuffed allegations, while the Foreign Ministry said Ukraine’s Chargé d’Affaires “could provide no evidence.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s subsequent comments that it’s Kyiv awaiting “evidence” that Tbilisi is not aiding Moscow, further angered Georgian Dream government.
The accusation came amid already strained relations between Tbilisi and Kyiv, after Ukraine recalled its Ambassador to Georgia over the “immoral position” of Irakli Garibashvili’s cabinet on “not joining” Russia sanctions and for barring Georgian volunteers from flying to Ukraine.
Amid growing criticism from Kyiv, Georgian Dream leadership has repeatedly claimed that former United National Movement officials “occupying some quite high positions in Ukraine” are influencing the decisions of the Ukrainian authorities.
- Tbilisi: Ukrainian Chargé Unable to Back Up Smuggling Claims
- Georgia Asks Ukraine for Evidence on Russia Smuggling Claim
- Tbilisi Denies Ukraine’s Claims Over Aiding Russian Smuggling
- Georgian Dream Accuses Ukraine Officials of Hybrid War