Ukrainian military intelligence have accused the Georgian Government of allowing Russia to set up smuggling routes through the country to evade sanctions.
In a statement on Monday, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence said that ‘Russian agents’ were setting up smuggling channels passing through Georgia.
‘Representatives of the Georgian special services were instructed by the political leadership not to interfere with the activities of smugglers’, the statement said.
According to Ukraine, the smuggling routes were being established to import military, dual-purpose, and civilian goods that have been subject to Western export controls in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Several leading members of Georgian Dream responded by suggesting the allegations were the result of a ‘hybrid war’ being waged against Georgia by Georgian opposition party the United National Movement (UNM).
The Georgian Ministry of Finance also released a statement vehemently denying the accusations, insisting they were ‘tightly monitoring’ cargo in and out of the country,
‘The Ministry of Finance of Georgia is declaring with full responsibility that any type of goods, including the military or of dual designation, as well as any product indicated in the list of sanctions, is subject to a tight control at customs by the Georgian authorities.’
The allegations come as Ukrainian–Georgian relations reach an all-time low. Ukraine recalled their ambassador for consultations in early March and have since continued to accuse the Georgian Government of not reacting adequately to the Russian invasion.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili once again reiterated that Georgia would not impose sanctions on Russia.
On Tuesday, Georgia’s State Security Service (SSG) demanded evidence from Ukraine of what they called an ‘extremely serious crime’.
‘The Government of Georgia will be uncompromising with regard to any possible case of such crime’, they said in a statement.
The SSG went on to say that if no evidence was forthcoming, the allegations would be considered ‘deliberate misinformation’, which represented ‘an extremely unfriendly and provocative step and aims at stirring domestic unrest in Georgia which […] serves only the interests of hostile forces.’
Last updated on 5 April 2022.