15th Oct 2019

EU ministers to criticise Russia over Georgia actions

EU foreign ministers meeting next week are set to strongly criticise Russia for recent actions taken against Georgia unless relations between the two improve in the meantime.

Draft conclusions signed off by EU ambassadors yesterday (12 October) refer to the bloc's "grave concern" at the deterioration in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi.

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  • Georgia briefly detained four Russian soldiers earlier this month prompting Moscow's retaliation (Photo: wikipedia)

"The Council expresses its grave concern at the measures adopted

by the Russian Federation against Georgia and at their economic, political and humanitarian consequences."

The draft statement continues by urging Moscow "not to pursue measures targeting Georgians in the Russian Federation."

The statements are due to be endorsed by the bloc's foreign ministers on Monday (16 October) at their regular monthly meeting and were prompted by Russia's decision to stop issuing visas, deport Georgians already in Russia as well as cut transport and postal links with the Caucasus country.

Moscow's heavy tactics came after Georgia at the beginning of October shortly detained four Russia army officers accusing them of spying.

The foreign ministers' criticism is due just three days before Russian president Vladimir Putin joins EU leaders for a summit in Finland on Friday and also takes place within the long shadow cast by the murder of prominent Putin-critic and investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

The EU leaders meeting is set to be a study in practical diplomacy with member states on the one hand mindful of the poor human rights record in Russia but equally mindful of how dependent they are on their giant neighbour for energy supplies.

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