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Ukrainian Foreign Ministry warns Saakashvili to refrain from calling for protests in Georgia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, February 11
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine responded to the statement of the former President of Georgia and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Reform Council of Ukraine Mikheil Saakashvili, writing that the accusations made against the Ambassador of Ukraine to Georgia, Igor Dolgov, have no evidence.

The Ukrainian MFA once again called on the citizens of Ukraine, who are public figures, to refrain from calling for actions of disobedience in a friendly state in Georgia.

“Such statements may be seen as interference in the internal affairs of our strategic partner. The Ukrainian state has never addressed and will not resort to such interventions in the future and categorically opposes such actions.”

“The allegations made against the Ambassador of Ukraine to Georgia, Igor Dolgov, have no evidence other than the accuser's emotions. Ukrainian diplomacy will not give in to them and will continue to effectively resist Russian hybrid aggression, mobilize the world to support Ukraine, open new markets for Ukrainian exporters, and successfully protect the rights of our compatriots abroad,” read the statement

Recall that Dolgov commented on the statement of Saakashvili when he announced that the acts of disobedience in Georgia should be carried out on a large scale.

Ambassador said that as an individual, Saakashvili has the right to express himself, but “now that the situation with the parliamentary elections has been more or less settled and the focus is on more important issues, calls for disobedience and illegal demonstrations will not really help to build a trust-based atmosphere for the development of strategic partnership between our countries.”

Saakashvili replied to Dolgo’s statement, accusing the ambassador of being “a corrupt bribe-taker'' and noting that Dolgov was a "Soviet functionary".

“The Ambassador of Ukraine to Georgia, Mr. Dolgov, who was appointed by Poroshenko 4 years ago with the sole purpose of fighting me, survived the Zelensky era and continues to tarnish Ukraine's image in Georgia and throughout the post-Soviet space,” Saakashvili said, adding that Doglov worked in unison with Poroshenko’s team to prevent Ukrainian MPs from traveling to Georgia as observers in last October's elections.

He also announced that “for many months now, two Ukrainian captains, Diachenko and Khomich, as well as Mikhail Baturin, a Georgian of Ukrainian descent, have been illegally held captive by a Georgian junta who, like Somali pirates, has caught them at sea and is trying to extort something.” Saakashvili accused Dolgov of inactivity and corruption, since he thinks that the case of Odessa sailors is linked to corrupt interests of Georgian officials.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also responded to the case of 2 Ukrainian citizens detained on charges of illegal border crossing in Georgia.

"One of the last resonant cases when Ukrainians needed the help of their state abroad was the seizure of a ship carrying 2 Ukrainian citizens - Vladimir Diachenko and Yuri Khomich, as well as Mikhail Baturin, a citizen of Georgia. Allegations of inaction against the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in this case are baseless and mislead the public.”

It is stated that this issue is one of the main priorities of the Ukrainian Embassy in Tbilisi. “To secure their release, the embassy held numerous meetings with Georgian government officials and prosecutors. The Consul of our Embassy assisted in securing contact with the relatives of the detained Ukrainians. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Embassy of Ukraine in Georgia sent the relevant notes and submitted a petition for the detention of the detained citizens of Ukraine.”

“We take this opportunity to once again call on the Georgian authorities to conduct a swift and impartial review of this case, to change the measure of restraint and to release the citizens of Ukraine,” the MFA stated.

On February 20, Batumi City Court remanded in custody 2 Ukrainian citizens, arrested on charges of illegal border crossing, as well as Mikheil Baturin, Mikheil Saakashvili's former bodyguard.

Judge Violeta Porchkhidze rejected the motions of the defense to change the measure of restraint and terminate the criminal prosecution at trial, where the evidence was considered.

Prosecutor Vladimer Turmanidze claims that the detainees were bound by boat from Turkey to Batumi, in violation of the rules, they did not come into contact with the Georgian side at all, to which the Coast Guard had a corresponding reaction. The prosecutor alleges that the Coast Guard detained the boat and there was an attempt by the detainees to escape.

The substantive hearing of the case will start on February 24 in Batumi City Court.

In parallel with yesterday’s session, members of the National Movement and their supporters held a rally in front of the Batumi City Court.