'We are in total solidarity with Ukraine,' Georgian President says

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili remarked on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying, “Putin has to understand, and I think he’s discovering that there is a united Europe, that he has miscalculated how Europeans, Ukrainians first, and then Europeans are reacting to his aggression.” She continued that “Putin has to discover that he cannot impress and he cannot dictate to everyone as may be thought that he could.”

“Nobody is adding to the escalation except Putin. So, we didn’t have to be in a way having a complex of the Western side should not be. I think that one of the reasons Putin has become the Putin that we are seeing is because there has always been this self-restriction on the Western side not to do something that might provoke, in this case, nothing has provoked,” she noted.

Asked whether Georgia’s ambition to join NATO could change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, triggered by Nato expansion worries, Zourabichvili responded that “Georgia has been invaded and occupied 14 years ago. So, it is not new and it has never changed the determination of the Georgian people to join Europe and NATO.”

“Georgia has been invaded and occupied a little bit before, 14 years ago exactly, and not only 14 years ago, that’s the fourth time Georgia is invaded by different Russias. So, it is not new and it has never changed the determination of the Georgian people to join Europe and NATO. The Euro-Atlantic integration is inscribed in our Constitution, but it’s also inscribed in the hearts of people who feel in a way they are more Europeans than Europeans sometimes. If that was the aim in Georgia, it did not succeed. And if it is the aim in Ukraine today, it will not succeed. Whatever happens, the result will be, that tomorrow’s Ukraine will be anti-Russian,” she underscored.

Remarking on Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s statement on refusal to join sanctions against Russia, the President said “I don’t know why he made that declaration.”

“And I think it is not the question, because our country is already sanctioned by the occupied territories and I am not sure what type of sanctions we could really impose that would matter at this point. I think what is important everybody expects from Georgia is solidarity, the open solidarity and that is why I come here with demonstrating that to President Zelenksyy that the Georgian population has been demonstrating it very clearly and that is the message I want to bring here that we are in total solidarity with Ukraine,” she asserted.

The Georgian President emphasized that the EU membership is no threat for anyone, “it’s not confrontational,” adding that neither could be seen as confrontational Georgia’s and Ukraine’s quest to NATO membership.

Zourabichvili stressed she fully agrees and supports Ukrainian President’s move to apply for EU membership.

“I don’t know whether it will be immediate membership but what is clear, is there is a window of opportunity, the window of readiness by the European nations to say yes, come in. What is a form of coming in, it remains to be seen, and I want Georgia to be seen in the same seat,” she stated.

President Zourabichvili held meetings with top officials in Paris and Brussels and expressed Georgia’s solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia’s full-scale invasion, declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24.