President Zurabishvili Talks War in Ukraine, EU Bid, Russian Occupation

President Salome Zurabishvili hosted the New Year Diplomatic Reception at the Orbeliani Palace on December 17. In her opening address to the diplomatic corps, President Zurabishvili drew attention to the war in Ukraine, Georgia’s bid for the EU candidacy, the mass influx of Russian citizens in Georgia, domestic polarization in the country, and developments regarding the imprisoned former president’s case. 

War in Ukraine

President Zurabishvili started her speech by discussing the war in Ukraine which “has gone through an all-out aggression” and “in fact defeated Russia because it has revealed to the entire world what it did not want to see in the previous acts of aggression in 1992, 2008, 2014.” 

Regarding the reactions of Georgians to the war in Ukraine, the President underscored “the war revives wounds, old and current … and some of the fears all of the neighbors of Russia, especially the smaller ones, have.” Georgians, according to President Zurabishili, are in “full solidarity” with Ukraine, as evidenced by humanitarian aid, fighting alongside Ukrainian fighters, holding pro-Ukraine rallies, receiving Ukrainian refugees, and so on.

EU Bid

Commenting on Georgia’s EU candidacy bid, President Zurabishvili stressed the country received the European perspective thanks to the Ukrainian struggle in the war against Russia, and that it is a “historical major step.”

President Zurabishvili underlined the Georgian people’s “extreme disappointment” for not receiving the candidate status and called on Georgia’s partners not to forget the will of the people of Georgia which is in favor of the country’s European future. 

President Zurabishvili also noted that “some groups might feel it is safer to criticize our Western partners than our occupiers” while underlining that the main challenge to the country is the Russian Federation as long as it continues its occupation.


President highlighted that people living in occupied Abkhazia are challenged over the control of their own land, language and identity and also by the attempts to mobilize them into fighting against Ukraine. To that end, the President once again debunked the idea that Georgia may try to take advantage of the ongoing war in Ukraine to de-occupy its territories. “What we want is to reunite with our population and that does not happen through grabbing territories,” she said. 

Speaking of the massive influx of Russians in Georgia, President said it is a challenge and an opportunity same time as it underscores Georgian tolerance and hospitality, but it should not be “stupid.”  According to Zurabishvili, Georgia should ensure it has regulations in place to avoid future tensions. 

Mikheil Saakashvili

In conclusion, the President also mentioned the judicial case of the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose health has recently been high on the domestic political agenda.

According to President Zurabishvili, developments around the former president contribute to polarization.

To that end, she emphasized that it is important that “all sides stop with speculations and that we wait for the decisions on 22 of December, which I am confident, and I want to be confident, that it will allow the Georgian population to get out of this situation, and allow the political forces to do what is their duty which is to concentrate on governing, and solving the issues and clearly setting Georgia on the stable path towards Europe, towards peace and towards prosperity…”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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