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27 May, 2024 21:28

‘Friends and foes’ want Georgia to send troops to Ukraine – official

Tbilisi has been consistently pushed into war with Russia, the speaker of the country’s parliament has claimed
‘Friends and foes’ want Georgia to send troops to Ukraine – official

Georgia has been repeatedly pushed into a conflict with Russia, the President of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, has claimed. 

According to the senior MP, “certain friends and foes” have repeatedly bombarded Tbilisi with demands to impose sanctions on Moscow and deploy troops to Ukraine.

Top Ukrainian officials, including the former head of the National Security Council Alexey Danilov, have urged Georgia to open a “second front” against Russia, calls consistently rejected by Tbilisi.

“Certain friends and foes have been pushing us into this, so that we would send fighters to Ukraine, which would have directly meant war with Russia,” Papuashvili explained.

He implied that members of the US-led NATO bloc were among those calling for Georgia to get involved in the conflict, noting that they were abstaining from sending in their own militaries. Apart from demands to enter the conflict directly, Georgia has long faced pressure to join Western sanctions against Moscow, he also noted.

Papuashvili further claimed that “non-governmental organizations that held rallies in Tbilisi... have also demanded our troops be sent to Ukraine.”

The speaker’s jab at NGOs comes amid ongoing domestic unrest and foreign pressure over draft “foreign agents” legislation, requiring those organizations and individuals receiving over 20% of their funding from abroad to register and disclose their sources of income.

The controversial bill was shelved amid mass protests and foreign pressure last year, with a new attempt to pass a slightly modified version running into the same troubles. However, the Georgian government has stood its ground and vowed to adopt the bill.

While Tbilisi has maintained an explicitly neutral stance on the Ukrainian conflict, a sizeable number of mercenaries originating from the country have fought on Kiev’s behalf. According to Russian military estimates, Georgia has provided some 1,042 mercenaries, only smaller than Kiev’s top backers, the US and Poland, with 1,113 and 2,960 fighters respectively.

At least 561 Georgian nationals were killed during the hostilities while serving with the Ukrainian military, according to Moscow’s estimates.

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