US ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, on Thursday said she was aware the majority of Georgians were against of establishing closer ties with Russia, in response to a recently leaked audio recording between Georgian and Russian economic envoys, with the latter making a mention of a transport corridor near Georgia’s currently Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region.
The diplomat told the media she did not know the details of the audio recording published on YouTube by an anonymous user on Wednesday, adding she, however, knew the position of the Georgian citizens over Russia.
“I know that many citizens of Georgia do not want to get closer to Russia at this stage, especially when Russia is carrying out brutal attacks on Ukraine, shooting at schools, hospitals. It is doing what it also did in Georgia [in 2008]”, Degnan said.
In his comments, Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative in Relations with Russia, claimed the conversation with Russian official Grigory Karasin concerned the traffic complications created at the Russia-Georgia border in the summer of the last year.
He noted there was “nothing scandalous” in the call as such questions had been discussed in the existing format of trade and economic cooperation with Russia, adding that the road mentioned in the talk was the ongoing, large-scale Kobi-Kvesheti ₾1.2 billion ($451 mln) project, funded by the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.