NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of Georgia and its Euro-Atlantic prospects at the Brussels event “On the Road to Vilnius,” saying that Georgia is “part of the pattern” and Moscow’s aggression against neighbors started in 2008 with an invasion into Georgia. At the Brussels forum, SG Stoltenberg also reminded Georgia of the importance of adhering to democratic standards and stressed NATO’s expectations for the non-member countries of the alliance to comply with the sanctions.
Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze participated in the 12th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. This time, the military gathering of more than 50 nations, also known as the Ramstein Group, was held virtually under the chairmanship of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The online discussion of the meeting focused on the urgent need for Ukraine’s coordinated assistance in the ongoing war.
Comments on the expediency of not joining the international sanctions against Russia voiced by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvi at the Qatar Economic Forum sparked an outcry from the opposition, who said Garibashvili had served as a mouthpiece of the Russian propaganda. MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream party praised the PM’s Doha comments as pragmatic and, just as importantly, in line with Georgia’s national priorities.
An NGO, “Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics,” issued a statement urging the Special Investigation Service to investigate promptly and efficiently the reported threats against Gela Mtivlishvili, the editor of the online publication “Mtis Ambebi.” The statement calls for action in response to an audio recording shared by Gela Mtivlishvili, in which an unidentified man insists removal of a journalistic investigation into “Georgian Manganese” from the “Mtis Ambebi” website, threatening to kill Mtivlishvili if he doesn’t. “Georgian Manganese” is a mining company engaged in manganese mining in the western Georgian town of Chiatura.
EU Flag of the Day
A scandal of sorts broke out as the Georgian civic activists and media noticed that the European Union banners were conspicuously absent from the Parliament building, dressed festively for the Independence Day celebrations. Georgia makes final preparations to mark Independence Day on 26 May. Last year, the façade decorations featured both EU and Georgian national flags. The opposition frets that the removal chimes with the government’s new ideological line that increasingly contrasts its own professed attachment to conservative values with the European ones. While the activists argue that if the government’s drift away from Europe goes unchallenged, Russian flags will be flying over the central avenue next year, the government retorts that the EU flag is still flying in front of the Parliament (even though it was torn down twice in recent months).