The Europe-Georgia Institute expresses our condolences to the families, friends, and relatives of Georgian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the Freedom of Ukraine and Georgia. Their sacrifice shall never be forgotten, and their sacrifice brings our joint victory closer.
6 Georgian fighters were killed in Ukraine
On 1 December, Georgian soldier Dzhambul Khoperia was killed in Ukraine, in the war against Russian military aggression. Archil Khoperi, the father of the fallen soldier, published the information on his personal Facebook page.
Five Georgian fighters – Avto Rurua, Romeo Pirchakhia, Roland Kvaratskhelia, Badri Markelia and Merab Aladashvili – were killed in Ukraine on 3 December while fighting near the city of Bakhmut, marking the deadliest day for Georgian fighters since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.
According to “Radio Liberty”, they were killed by the attack of “Kadyrovites”.
Another Georgian fighter in Ukraine, Romeo Farulava, said in a conversation with the TV company “Mtavari Arkhi” that they are in constant contact with the fighters on the front line of the battle, who say that “the situation is very difficult in Bakhmut”.
Responding to the news, President Salome Zurabishvili offered her condolences to the families, friends, and relatives “of all Georgian fighters who have died in Ukraine.”
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili offered his condolences to the families and friends of the 5 Georgian fighters killed near Bakhmut on 3 December in an address that focused largely on lambasting the government’s opponents.
Offering his condolences, the Prime Minister emphasized, “I want to mention once again that this is a [source] of great pain for us… already 33 of our fellow citizens have died in this war in Ukraine, which is a tragedy for us so once again I offer my condolences to their families…”
Notably, Prime Minister Garibashvili took the opportunity to lambast the “hypocritical, fake politicians” trying to take advantage of the “sensitive issue” by creating an uproar in society to score “political dividends…” In that context, he claimed that the “party of war” has been trying to “arrange certain provocations” since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
“It is through their organization now too, unfortunately, that these fellow citizens of ours are being taken to Ukraine by representatives of the party of war,” the PM argued while adding that “many of their provocations were initially avoided by our government.”
In response to Gharibashvili, Andrey Kasyanov, the temporary representative of Ukrainian affairs in Georgia, said: “We deny any accusations against Ukraine regarding the attempt to drag Georgia into a war with the Russian Federation. We are very concerned about the constant accusations and speculations on this topic in the internal politics of Georgia.”
The President of Moldova is “Deeply Concerned” about Mikheil Saakashvili’s health
The President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, tweeted on 4 December that she is “deeply concerned” about the health condition of imprisoned ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, whose health is “rapidly deteriorating “.
President Sandu emphasized: “Every human life is priceless and the gravity of the situation requires immediate transfer of Saakashvili to an appropriate hospital to save his life.”
A few days before Sandu’s announcement, Saakashvili’s lawyers appealed to the Tbilisi City Court and demanded his release or postponement of the sentence due to the deterioration of his health, the right which is provided for by Georgian legislation.
One of Mikheil Saakashvili’s lawyers, Shalva Khachapuridze, said that “it is inconceivable that the court should not decide on the release or postponement of his sentence based on this petition and the materials attached to the case. Then there will be clear illegality and a death sentence for him.”
Regarding the health of the third president of Georgia, the US ambassador said that “we continue to monitor his condition very closely”. “We get to know the latest information like others,” she added.
The Ambassador emphasized that “the main thing is that the government takes whatever steps are necessary based on this new information.”
“We’ve all been waiting for credible, reliable medical conclusions as to Mr. Saakashvili’s health before anybody can know what is the best course of action,” she noted.
“As the United States has said repeatedly, it is important to ensure that Mr. Saakashvili receives the medical care that he needs and that his human rights are respected,” she underscored, adding that they will continue to “advocate for the government to take appropriate steps based on this recently released medical information.”
The Czech ambassador was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 2 December that it summoned the Czech Ambassador to Georgia, Petr Mikyska, to provide an explanation in reference to his recent comments as disseminated in the media over the past couple of days.
According to information shared in the media on 1 December, Ambassador Mikyska had stated that “Exports from the Czech Republic to Georgia have almost doubled. And part of this export, I am sure, goes to Russia […] This will have its effects, and the Czech Republic, [which is the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU], is watching these developments, this will be one of the criteria when we evaluate Georgia’s readiness for the candidate status and not just the 12 recommendations.”
According to the Ministry, the Ambassador met with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Khvtisiashvili, who asked him to explain what his statement was based on, which “does not correspond to reality and harms both the cooperation of the two countries and Georgia’s reputation.”
The Deputy FM also informed the Ambassador about the steps that Georgia is taking on restricting the evasion of sanctions and such occurrences.
According to the Ministry, the Czech Ambassador explained that “unfortunately, his words were misinterpreted and used out of context.”
“The Ambassador also confirmed that there are no questions regarding Georgia in connection with sanctions,” the MFA stated.
The Czech Embassy released a statement addressing the meeting with the Deputy FM on 2 December, which noted that during the meeting, the Ambassador “detailed that his comments, disseminated out of context, were not linked to the sanctions against Russia but general trade, knowing and valuing the principled position of Georgian authorities on the sanctions issue.”
“Both sides discussed further exchange of information on this and other sensitive issues,” the Embassy noted.
“We assume that the doubts of Georgian authorities have been dispelled and the subject does not deserve further discussion,” the statement underscored.
The Revenue Service of Georgia also responded to the media reports, emphasizing that the information “does not correspond to the truth” and is “false.”
According to them, Georgia “strictly takes into account” the international sanctions imposed on the trade of certain goods to Russia and Belarus. The Service noted that all such products undergo “special customs control.”
Melashvili: The fact that there is a peace in Tbilisi today is thanks to Ukrainians from beginning to end
The President of the Europe-Georgia Institute, George Melashvili, spoke about the international positioning of Georgia and the challenges the country is facing in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine at the “Morning Conversations” program of “Radio Liberty”.
According to him, the Georgian government’s expression of condolences for the death of Georgian soldiers in Ukraine in this form was hypocritical and “it was the use of the death of soldiers for a dirty political game”. Melashvili noted that in the past, the nation was always unified after the death of Georgian soldiers in various peacekeeping missions, “it was mourning, solidarity and understanding why our country is participating in this peacekeeping mission.”
The president of the Europe-Georgia Institute noted that in case of the defeat of Ukraine, Tbilisi will be the next target, therefore Georgian fighters in Ukraine are protecting Tbilisi, Batumi and other cities.
“The fact that Ukraine stopped the Russian military machine, is fighting and winning, is, of course, the only guarantee of our security today,” he said.