Georgia's President Warns Covid-19 Crisis Could Trigger Russian Aggression
24 May, 2020
Georgia’s president has warned that Russia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus and an economic crisis compounded by an oil price collapse risk is triggering new Kremlin aggression beyond its borders, - reads an article published by Financial Times.
“Salome Zurabishvili, whose country lost a fifth of its territory to a 2008 invasion by Moscow, said history suggested internal problems in Russia tended to drive external belligerence rather than efforts to “revisit relations with its neighbors in a more
co-operative manner”.

"The crisis caused by the pandemic and falling oil prices, as well as the political situation in the country, may lead Russia to aggression. As the president of Georgia, I can express the hope that this time it will not be the case, that maybe the crisis will show the Russian leadership that they can look in a different way to solve their problems.”

Her comments highlight how the pandemic has created new dynamics and uncertainties in Georgia’s Black Sea region, where Russia has built up its military presence and vies for influence with western countries and Turkey.

Ms. Zurabishvili said she was disappointed the Kremlin had not taken the opportunity offered by the health emergency to scale back its deployment of missiles and radar in the disputed territory of Abkhazia, which has declared independence and has increasingly aligned itself with Moscow since the 2008 conflict. She said the health emergency had also created fresh risks in Russian-occupied areas because of Moscow’s lack of openness over its Covid-19 outbreak and its “absurd” restrictions on access for Georgian authorities to aid citizens in South Ossetia, which Russia invaded in 2008”, reads the article.

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