Imprisoned former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who currently holds Ukrainian citizenship, on Tuesday said Tbilisi’s refusal to lend Buk missiles and the US Javelins to Ukraine for its war against Russia was a “treason” that would “stain” the Georgian-Ukrainian relations.
“With the help of President Yushchenko, we bought the Buk missiles at the minimum price at the time [in 2007]. When Yanukovych came to Ukraine, they even opened a case against Yushchenko for handing over the missiles to Georgia, and they did it at the behest of Russia. Moreover, the instructor - Colonel Mamchur, who taught us how to use the Buk systems, was killed by Russians in Rovno in 2017”, Saakashvli wrote on social media.
“Now the Americans have given Ukraine a large number of missiles for Buk. Most importantly, with this step, we had refused not only the Ukrainians, but also the Americans, to lend their Javelins to Ukraine. This is treason, and episodes of such treason will remain a stain in the history of Georgia-Ukraine relations," Saakashvili wrote.
The Georgian defence ministry on Tuesday dismissed reports over the free handover of Buk missiles to Georgia by Ukraine during the Russia-Georgia 2008 war, saying the country paid “millions” for the systems in 2007.
On Monday the European Pravda published an article by the acting ambassador of Ukraine to Georgia Andriy Kasyanov, in which the diplomat said Ukraine had demanded back the Buk missiles it had handed to Georgia during the Russia-Georgia 2008 conflict and also requested Javelins.
Kasyanov said Tbilisi “strongly rejected” the arms support for Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia.