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The Daily Beat: 31 May

While in Brussels, President Salome Zurabishvili addressed the European Parliament, speaking of Georgia’s EU integration, European identity, the importance of EU candidate status, the war with Ukraine, and relations with Russia. In her speech, the president emphasized Georgia’s centuries-long strive for Europe, pledging to do her utmost to help the country to overcome challenges and embark on full-fledged European integration. President said that Georgia is at a historical juncture and granting the EU candidate status by the end of the year is the only way forward. In contrast to the prime minister, the president was plain and sound on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

A group of 19 civil society organizations releasedstatement, slamming the prime minister’s remarks at the Global Security Forum (GLOBSEC) that “NATO enlargement” was one of the main reasons for the start of the war in Ukraine. The CSOs expressed concern that the prime minister’s speech was fully in line with the Kremlin’s narrative, according to which NATO enlargement threatens Russia. “Unfortunately, the Prime Minister did not take the opportunity to condemn in every possible way the unjust and unprovoked attack of the Russian Federation on Ukraine,” the statement reads.

The chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze reacted to EU demarche on the resumption of air links between Georgia and Russia, describing the diplomatic move as an EU demand to impose sanctions on Russia. Irakli Kobakhidze also noted that the EU demarche echoes the stance of radical opposition. “Our position on sanctions remains unchanged – we aren’t imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation,” Kobakhidze said, arguing his position with escalation risks and possible economic damage.

The foreign ministry confirmed that another Georgian fighter was killed in Ukraine, bringing the total death toll of Georgian citizens fighting against the Russian aggression to 34.  According to the foreign ministry, the Georgian Embassy in Kyiv has been duly informed, and all the necessary procedures for repatriating the body to Georgia are already underway.

The Special Investigation Service reported the arrest of a border police officer for exceeding official powers, using violence and firearms against British and Belorussian tourists in Vashlovani National Park. According to the Special Investigation Service, after an altercation with tourists, a border police officer arbitrarily and without any legal basis handcuffed British and Belorussian tourists, firing a shot from his weapon. Now he faces a criminal charge, foreseeing five to eight years imprisonment.

Data of the Day

According to the data released by National Statistics Office, Georgia’s real GDP is up by 7.5% in April 2023 compared to the same period of the previous year. Chief statistics body reported the growth in construction, financial and insurance activities, transportation, and storage while spotting a decline in manufacturing and real estate activities.


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