US Threatens Sanctions if Flights Resume Between Georgia and Russia; Tbilisi Responds
Anybody else remember how just a few weeks ago they were claiming nations should be free to choose their own alliances without regard for others in the case of Ukraine? Weird how that standard disappears for countries like Argentina that chose a different strategic partner than Washington.
I mean, nobody should be surprised. Washington did threaten in early February to sanction Georgia for daring to consider re-opening flights with Russia. Again, really weird Ukraine is “free” to join NATO, but Georgia can’t even run flights to Russia.
In short, don’t let anyone ever gaslight you into thinking what the Western Block stands for is anything but naked self-interest and aggrandizement.
The US Department of State stated on February 2 that it would be concerned if flights between Russia and Georgia were to resume, given the potential sanctions exposure for businesses at Georgia’s airports due to the new import and export controls imposed by several Western countries, including the US. The Department further added that now is not the time to improve relations with Russia, as the entire Western world is turning away from Moscow’s oppressive government.
Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, commented that the decision to resume flights does not depend on them. He further mentioned that around 800,000 Georgian citizens live in Russia and that the Georgian government would welcome the Russian Federation’s decision to lift sanctions and restore flights, as it would provide relief to their fellow countrymen. Previously, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had discussed the possibility of resuming flights between Georgia and Russia during an official press conference in Moscow in January, to which Irakli Kobakhidze responded positively, citing the severe impact that Russia’s unilateral suspension of direct flights in 2019 had on many Georgian citizens. On February 3, the US Embassy in Georgia announced that the US has sent 140 tons of security aid to Georgia’s Ministry of Defense, emphasizing its commitment to the strategic alliance with Georgia and its intention to continue to strengthen the Georgian Defense Forces.