TBILISI, DFWatch–A spokeswoman for Georgia’s coalition government Wednesday told European countries to be tougher against Russia and said four disputed territories currently under Russian control will be “returned”.
Member of Parliament Tina Khidasheli drew on the fact that April 9 was 25 years since Soviet soldiers violently dispersed a peaceful protest for independence in Tbilisi. 21 people died and hundreds were injured.
“Russia keeps sending troops from year to year against next independent state for occupation and we, the rest of the world, cannot confront this,” she said, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during a debate about a resolution regarding the crisis in Ukraine.
Drawing a parallel between Georgia, Moldova and now Ukraine; three countries in Russia’s neighborhood with Russian-controlled disputed territories, she declared: “The Soviet Union is finished.”
Khidasheli drew a line between two frozen conflicts in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where bloody wars were fought twenty years ago and a Russian military presence prevents the central government from attempting to forcefully take the areas back, with the Transdniestr territory in Moldova, and the recent annexation by Russia of Crimea after a referendum.
The MP called on European nations to “give a sharp and clear message” to Russia that there is no room for occupation and annexation of independent states.
She said Crimea, Transnistria, as well as Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be “returned”.
Another MP, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tedo Japaridze, went even further, drawing on a quote from German Pastor Martin Niemöller and likening Russia to the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
“First they came for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and I did not speak out, because I was not Georgian. Then they came for the Crimea, and I did not speak out, because I was not Ukrainian. Then they came to us, and there was no one left to speak.”