Georgia comments on opening ‘second front’ against Russia

Georgia comments on opening ‘second front’ against Russia

FILE PHOTO. ©  AFP / Vano Shlamov

Tbilisi does not support the idea, but might put the question to citizens in a referendum, a high-ranking MP said

Georgia would consider opening a ‘second front’ against Russia, but only if its people support the idea in a referendum, an MP and head of the leading parliamentary force – the ‘Georgian Dream’ Party – said on Tuesday.

Irakli Kobakhidze was commenting on statements made by some Ukrainian officials in recent months, who had called on Tbilisi to join its fight against Russia.

“We can hold a referendum, a plebiscite on whether people want to open a second front [against Russia] in Georgia or not,” Kobakhidze said, according to the Georgian news Channel 1.

He said Georgians should “make a decision” themselves on whether they agree with officials in Kiev or their own government, which opposes such a move, he added.

“If people want it, we can discuss it together later,” the politician said, without offering a timeline on when such a referendum might happen.

On Monday, Ukrainian MP, Fedor Venislavsky told Channel 1 that Tbilisi had a unique opportunity to seize back the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which it considers parts of its sovereign territory.

The two regions declared their independence from Georgia in 2008 following a brief military conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi. The conflict was prompted by Tbilisi’s forces shelling the region, where Russian peacekeepers were stationed.

South Ossetia announced plans to unite with Russia in March this year, but with Moscow now focused on the conflict with Kiev, Tbilisi could try to get both breakaway republics back, Venislavsky said.

Similar comments were made in August by the head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, who told Ukraine’s Channel 24 that Georgia should “recapture” the territories.

Danilov’s words sparked a flurry of criticism from the Georgian opposition at the time, with some branding the idea of Georgia joining the conflict as “irrelevant” and “inappropriate.”

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