Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Tuesday claimed a joint demarche by all ambassadors of the European Union member states in Georgia, as well as the EU ambassador, on their negative approach to recently resumed direct Russia-Georgia flights, was “practically a demand” to Tbilisi to impose individual sanctions on Russia.
The comment in the parliament came following the ambassadors meeting with economy minister Levan Davitashvili on Monday, when they handed him the demarche, and expressed worries about Tbilisi’s consent to the flights in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s move on May 10 to lift travel and visa restrictions for Georgian citizens amid its aggression against Ukraine.
"With the so-called demarche [they have] practically demanded the imposition of sanctions on Russia that was a kind of surprise during this entire period. Both the opposition, including the radical opposition, as well as our partners claimed they did not demand the imposition of sanctions, although now we have seen a different approach. Our position over sanctions remains unchanged," Kobakhidze said.
The ambassadors on Monday said all 27 members of the bloc would decide whether the resumed flights could affect Georgia’s European integration, ahead of the EU’s forthcoming decision later this year whether to grant Georgia its membership candidate status.
The Georgian government claims imposing sanctions on Russia will affect the state economy and may pose threats to the country’s security amid the presence of Russian troops in the country’s occupied regions and the absence of any international security umbrella.
However, the part of the domestic opposition says the government’s move was a part of its “pro-Kremlin stance”.