‘Certain friends and foes’ want Georgia to send troops to Ukraine – official

Tbilisi has been consistently pushed by various actors into war with Russia, the speaker of the country’s parliament says

Georgia has been repeatedly pushed into a conflict with Russia, with “certain friends and foes” urging Tbilisi to impose sanctions on the country and even to deploy troops to Ukraine, the President of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, has said.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, the house speaker said the country has been repeatedly bombarded with such demands, both in public and in private.

“Certain friends and foes have been pushing us into this, so that we would send fighters to Ukraine, which would have directly meant war with Russia,” he explained.

Top Ukrainian officials, including the former head of the National Security Council Alexey Danilov, have repeatedly urged Georgia to open a “second front” against Russia, with the calls consistently shot down by Tbilisi.

While Papuashvili did not mention any actors in particular, he implied that members of the US-led NATO bloc were among them. With “such actions” demanded for some unknown reason from Georgia, NATO states themselves were abstaining from sending in their own militaries, he said. Apart from demands to enter the conflict directly, Georgia has for long been facing pressure to join Western sanctions against Moscow, he also noted.

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Non-state actors have been pushing Georgia into war with Russia as well, Papuashvili claimed, stating that “non-governmental organizations that held rallies in Tbilisi with similar calls have also demanded our troops be sent to Ukraine.”

The speaker’s jab at the NGOs comes as the country continues to experience domestic unrest and foreign pressure over its draft “foreign agents” legislation, requiring those organizations and individuals receiving over 20% of their funding from abroad to register and disclose their sources of income. The controversial bill ended up being shelved amid mass protests and foreign pressure last year, with the new attempt to pass its slightly modified version running into the same troubles. However, the Georgian government has stood its ground and vowed to adopt the bill no matter what.

While Tbilisi has maintained an explicitly neutral stance on the Ukrainian conflict, a sizeable number of mercenaries originating from the country have been fighting on Kiev’s behalf. According to the Russian military’s estimates, the country has provided some 1,042 mercenaries, with the figure beaten only by Kiev’s top backers, namely the US and Poland, with at least 1,113 and 2,960 fighters coming from those two countries, respectively. At least 561 Georgian nationals in the Ukrainian military’s ranks ended up killed during the hostilities, according to Moscow’s estimates.

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