Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili told the European Parliament on Wednesday that by lifting visa and travel restrictions with Georgia earlier this month, Moscow attempted to “weaken” the west’s influence and strengthen its own in Georgia, along with intentions to spark internal tensions, escalation and confusion.
She stressed the European Union’s potential decision by the end of this year to grant Georgia its membership candidacy would “strengthen the status of Georgia in the region”.
Zourabichvili also said the acceptance of around 80,000 Russian citizens on the backdrop of Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine without incidents had indicated “tolerance of Georgians”, but also pointed to the necessity of “clear and strict state regulations”.
“Let's think about what it means to accept citizens from a country that occupies 20 percent of your territory and is waging a brutal war against your friend - Ukraine. The fact that this happened without serious incidents shows the tolerance of Georgia. We can and should be proud, but this should be accompanied by clear and strict state regulations, so that tolerance does not open the way to frustration and escalation", the president noted.