President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he was “totally surprised” by the demonstrations in Georgia against the Kremlin, which took place on the occasion of Russia’s re-establishment of air links with this pro-Western Caucasian country, reports AFP, taken over by Agerpres.
Dozens of Georgians demonstrated last week in front of an airport in the capital Tbilisi, when a Russian plane landed in the former Soviet republic for the first time since 2019 and against the backdrop of the offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine, which the West seeks to isolate.
“Honestly, I was totally surprised by this reaction”, said the Russian president during a meeting with businessmen. “I thought everyone would say, ‘Well, thanks, that’s good.’ But no, there was a completely incomprehensible uproar over this issue”, continued Vladimir Putin in front of the cameras. “When I look at it from here, I think: ‘They’ve gone crazy, it’s not clear what’s happening there,'” added Vladimir Putin.
Russia fought a short but bloody war in 2008 against Georgia, and anti-Russian sentiment runs deep in the country.
In response to anti-Moscow protests in Tbilisi, Russia banned air links with Georgia in 2019. But unexpectedly, President Putin lifted the ban this month, and in addition approved a 90-day visa-free regime for Georgian citizens traveling to Russia.
The Russian head of state said on Friday that he understood that it was Georgian leaders who had “repeatedly” asked Russia to lift the ban on these flights, as well as this new visa policy.
At the same time, the Kremlin leader assured that Moscow will not interfere in Georgia’s internal affairs. “What happens in the country is none of our business,” he said, adding that the Georgian people should choose their own path.
Last week, protesters in Tbilisi displayed signs that read: “You are not welcome” and “Russia is a terrorist state.”
Georgian authorities are accused of secretly cooperating with the Kremlin after years of tensions, and the government insists it must maintain economic ties with Russia.
Read also: The President of Georgia is no longer allowed to fly with Georgian Airwaysafter criticizing the company for resuming races with Russia
Editor : A.C.
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