“This war could have been avoided” – Gharibashvili on the 15th anniversary of the August War
On the 15th anniversary of the August war, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili emphasised that the war with Russia could have been prevented. After placing a wreath at the heroes’ memorial, he criticised the previous government’s actions.
“This war was not inevitable. I’m privy to the events and developments that transpired. It’s crucial to reiterate that the former commander-in-chief demonstrated a grave lack of responsibility,” stated Irakli Gharibashvili.
When he was asked about the specifics of how the war could have been avoided, the Prime Minister responded sternly, “Please allow me to continue without interruption. If you’re not here to listen, kindly leave to avoid further disruption.”
Reflecting on the conduct of the former Commander-in-Chief, Gharibashvili remarked, “While our military heroes displayed tremendous valour and selflessness, the former Commander-in-Chief’s behaviour was deeply disappointing. Do you remember falling to the ground at the sound of a plane? His tie-chewing.The world witnessed this dishonourable act, and it’s a great shame.”
According to Gharibashvili, “We must reclaim our territories through peaceful, rightful, intelligent, and pragmatic policies.”
Opposition politicians also shared their views on the 15th anniversary of the 2008 August war.
“Russia led by Putin couldn’t achieve what has unfortunately transpired in the past 15 years under Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Russian government’s influence. This is a distressing situation for us,” remarked Levan Khabeishvili, chairman of the United National Movement.
“The enemy’s propaganda has sought to blame Georgia for the events of August 2008. Today, our government, unfortunately, has become part of this propaganda, leading to complicity.” stated Giga Bokeria, chairman of the European Georgia – Movement for Freedom party.
“Today marks 15 years since the Russian Federation’s active military intervention in Georgia, resulting in significant loss of life. The tragedy continues as 20% of our country remains occupied. The rights of our citizens in the occupied territories are violated daily, and many still cannot return to their homes. However, this situation must be resolved through collective efforts, with the support of the international community, in a peaceful manner,” emphasized Badri Japaridze, a prominent figure in the “Lelo for Georgia” party.
Minister of Economy: Shovi tragedy was inevitable
Minister of Economy, Levan Davitashvili, responded to the recent disaster in Shovi, Racha, acknowledging that regardless of the systems Georgia has in place, a tragedy of this nature would still be difficult to prevent.
“In our country, security resources are not a primary concern, but when it comes to natural disasters, unfortunately, we often find ourselves powerless. It’s challenging, and sometimes it’s impossible to fully prevent such events. This is not unique to Georgia; it occurs in developed countries as well. Regrettably, there are moments when people, systems, state institutions, and even entire nations cannot prevent or fully anticipate the impact of natural disasters. Despite our ongoing program with the Green Climate Fund, focused on studying geological hazards in Georgia and establishing prevention systems, it’s crucial to recognize that a similar tragedy like the one in Shovi might still occur under various circumstances. No matter what systems we have now or in the future, we must acknowledge that tragedies can happen, and no one in the world is completely immune to them,” emphasised Davitashvili during a post-government session briefing.
In reference to the disaster in Chuberi Valley in 2018, Davitashvili previously stated, “Within 2-3 years, we will implement a robust early warning system across Georgia’s entire territory. We need such systems, especially for rivers like Nenskra, where the Ministry of Agriculture’s environmental protection service is actively working. With these systems, we aim to obtain the necessary information for effective prevention measures.”
The tragic incident in Shovi has claimed 24 lives, with 9 more individuals still being sought, according to the latest reports.
Court issues sentences for those arrested over Russian cruise ship rally
Judge Aleksandre Goguadze of the Batumi City Court has issued a verdict in the case of individuals arrested during the rally against the Russian cruise ship. Of the 23 people whose cases were considered, 20 have been found guilty of violating the law. They face fines ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 and 3,500 GEL. Proceedings against one individual were terminated, another received a verbal reprimand from the judge, and the trial for one person will take place in September.
Notably, the son of Adjara Supreme Council deputy Levan Antadze was among those arrested at the rally, and a hearing on his case is scheduled for September.
One of the individuals fined by the court is Ukrainian citizen Marina Chobaniani, who must pay a fine of 2,000 GEL. Chobaniani disagrees with the court’s decision, claiming he was arrested “without reason and without explanation.”
Chobaniani is part of a group of detainees who have previously spoken about what they perceive as excessive use of force by the police, alleging that this force was applied both during and after the arrests.
The arrested individuals, who participated in the protest against the Russian cruise ship, have also alleged that they were verbally and physically assaulted by law enforcement officers during the arrest. They assert that the demonstration was peaceful and that the actions of law enforcement officers amounted to illegal detention.
The protest against the Russian cruise ship began at midnight on July 31 in the Batumi port, following the police’s erection of barricades to prevent the ship’s entry. The protest continued through the night and culminated in a physical confrontation between the police and the protesters.