Retired military expert and Lieutenant Colonel of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Andrei Marochko suggested that the idea of evacuating Ukrainian citizens from Georgia is connected with covert mobilization. He announced this on January 26 on the air of Channel One.
“Now in the zone of the special military operation, Ukraine is losing a colossal number of its citizens. In order to make up for these losses, mobilization measures are underway … But we all understand perfectly well that they are ending on the territory of Ukraine. And those countries where young people managed to escape, people who are subject to mobilization, this resource can still be pumped out somehow,” Marochko said.
He also suggested that it is from Georgia that young people who fall under the draft will be taken out in the first place, since Tbilisi and Kyiv are “governed from one center.”
On January 25, Chargé d’Affaires of Ukraine in Georgia, Andriy Kasyanov, in an interview with the Georgian TV channel Imedi, said that Kyiv does not exclude the possibility of evacuating Ukrainian citizens from the country if direct flights between Georgia and Russia are resumed. In his opinion, the influx of Russians can pose a threat to Ukrainians located on the territory of the state.
On the same day, the Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned Kasyan to clarify his statement.
Later on January 25, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia expressed concern about the likelihood of a mass evacuation of Ukrainians from the country. The ministry’s statement notes that statements about this are groundless and harm relations with Ukraine.
On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope that direct flights from Russia to Georgia would be restored in the near future. He stressed that in this way Tbilisi can resist the pressure of the West and defend its economic interests.
In June 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a temporary ban on passenger flights to Georgia. The decision was made against the backdrop of mass protests that took place in the country that year.
Mobilization measures in Ukraine are taking place in connection with the Russian special operation to protect the population of Donbass. Its beginning was announced on February 24 due to the aggravation of aggression by the Ukrainian military in the region.
For more up-to-date videos and details about the situation in Donbas, watch the Izvestia TV channel.