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28 Apr, 2021 11:00

Our two mortal enemies are Russia & ISIS, says explosive new report on ‘existential threats’ from Georgia’s top security agency

Our two mortal enemies are Russia & ISIS, says explosive new report on ‘existential threats’ from Georgia’s top security agency

The State Security Service of Georgia has declared Russia to be an “existential threat” to the Caucasus country, putting Moscow in the same category as outlawed terrorist group ISIS, which was named as the other primary challenge.

In its annual report, presented on Monday at a meeting of Tbilisi's Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, the authors accuse Moscow of carrying out cyber-attacks and information warfare, and claim that the “occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia” poses an “existential threat” to Georgia. Furthermore, officials believe that Russia’s so-called “expansionist policy in the Black Sea and South Caucasus region” stymies the country’s development, encroaching on “the security not only of the South Caucasus, but the whole of Europe.”

Tbilisi’s bitter accusations have roots in the early 1990s, when two of Georgia’s former provinces – South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both home to different ethnic groups – sought independence.

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The Georgian-Russian war of 2008 was triggered by the country’s then-president, Mikheil Saakashvili, ordering his troops to capture the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. Russia, which had peacekeepers in the area, responded with a show of military strength, and the war was swiftly concluded. In its wake, Moscow recognized the break-away regions as independent states, leading to accusations on the part of Tbilisi that they were “occupied” by its northern neighbor.

Later, in 2014, Russia and Abkhazia signed a “strategic partnership” agreement, eliciting yet more angry charges of “annexation” levelled against Moscow by the Georgians.

The new report, with its latest round of allegations, comes hot on the heels of a press conference following a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 24th March, where NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of meddling in Georgian affairs.

“Despite years of pressure and efforts to engage in a meaningful dialogue, Russia has increased its pattern of repressive behavior at home and aggressive behavior abroad,” the leader of the US-led military block declared.

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“Abroad, Russia undermines and destabilizes its neighbors, including Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova.”

Moscow, meanwhile, has long denied such accusations, with Russian diplomat Andrey Rudenko telling RIA Novosti last year that “Russia is not, and will not be, interfering in any way in the affairs of Georgia.”

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