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Georgian government refuses to introduce sanctions on Russia 

25 February 2022
Irakli Gharibashvili. Video still: Rustavi 2.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili told reporters that he would not introduce sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. He justified the move by citing Georgia’s ‘national interests’.

‘I will not do anything, I will not make any decision that will in any way harm the national interests of our country and the national interests of our people’, Gharbishavili said on Friday. ‘I want to state clearly and unequivocally that Georgia is not going to participate in financial and economic sanctions.’

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, countries around the world have introduced wide-ranging sanctions on the country including on Russian banks, senior government and military officials, major state-owned companies, and prominent oligarchs. 

[Read more: Editorial | Russia’s imperialist invasion of Ukraine]

The Prime Minister framed the issue as one of national security and condemned the opposition for their insistence on sanctions.  

‘Their goal is to organise provocations and to repeat the tragedy of the August war of 2008, which they were unable to avoid’, Gharibashvili said. ‘Anti-state, anti-national and reckless policies in Georgia are over.’

Georgian Dream MPs have also refused to attend an extraordinary sitting of the parliament concerning Russia’s war on Ukraine called by the country’s president Salome Zurabishvili — ensuring that, due to lack of quorum, the sitting could not go ahead. 

In protest of the apparent boycott by the ruling party, opposition parties Lelo, the United National Movement (UNM), and several independent MPs gathered in parliament and sang the Ukrainian national anthem while holding aloft the Georgian and Ukrainian flags.

Also on Friday, Georgia’s National Bank announced that they would provide financial assistance to the Georgian branch of Russia’s sanction-hit VTB Bank, before removing their statement in favour of a more vague promise to protect the interests of bank depositors.

[Read more: Georgian National bank vows to assist sanctions-hit VTB Bank]

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