Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili on July 23 condemned Russia’s overnight attack on Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa.
The attack killed one civilian, injured 18 others, and damaged 25 historical buildings in Odesa, including the city’s Transfiguration Cathedral, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
“Another war crime committed by Russia in Ukraine!” Zurabishvili said, calling the attack a “blunt violation of all norms of international law.”
As of late June, Russia had damaged or destroyed more than 664 cultural heritage sites in Ukraine, according to Kateryna Chuyeva, the Ukrainian deputy minister for culture and information policy.
Despite occasionally making statements in support of Ukraine, the Georgian authorities have often taken either a neutral or pro-Kremlin stance during Russia’s war against Ukraine. Georgia has so far refused to support Western sanctions against Russia or supply military aid to Ukraine.
In April, Zurabishvili confirmed in her interview with CNN that Georgia would join international financial sanctions against Russia in response to its all-out invasion of Ukraine. But Georgian Prime Minister Iraklii Garibashvili said a month later the country’s economy would collapse if it imposed sanctions against Russia.
This year, flights between Georgia and Russia were also resumed. Since June, the Russian airline Red Wings has been allowed to operate flights from Sochi and Moscow three times a week to two cities in Georgia – Tbilisi and Kutaisi.
The Georgian government has also come under fire for jailing ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, a staunch critic of Russia who accuses the authorities of fabricating his case to take revenge on him and please the Kremlin.
Saakashvili’s health has rapidly deteriorated in prison but the Georgian authorities had refused to let Western doctors treat Saakashvili until July 12, when Polish medics arrived in Georgia. They are still rejecting his requests for treatment abroad.