Degnan on Georgia
There are elements in Georgia trying to undermine the partnership between the US and Georgia in order to create confusion and division between the countries, US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said in an exclusive interview with Interpressnews. “This is a classic KGB/FSB strategy,” she maintained.
Degnan says that Washington has never put pressure on the Georgian government to impose sanctions on Russia, and the only discussion that took place with the government on this issue was about what kind of assistance Georgia could provide to Ukraine. The US has no evidence that Georgia is not complying with sanctions, the ambassador said:
“I don’t think anyone can say with 100% certainty, but customs and border control know exactly what they’re doing.”
Degnan also said that no matter how important it is to talk disagreements over, the main thing is to respect the truth and facts.
“I think the most important thing here is that we work together. Georgia and the United States of America have worked for over thirty years to build and strengthen a stronger economy, stronger security, stronger coast and border guards, stronger democratic institutions that are the foundation of the society and state which the people of Georgia want to live in. This is where our efforts are focused, and we are fighting back against those who are trying to create confusion, division, and actually do the will of the Kremlin’s disinformation leadership,” Degnan said.
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On January 19 of this year, CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour asked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about circumventing sanctions against Russia, citing Georgia as an example: “You have already approved several packages of sanctions against Russia. However, prohibited goods reach Russia by detours, including, according to the latest information, through Georgia. How do you ensure that Russia can no longer get what it needs?
In response, von der Leyen said that attempts to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Russia are unacceptable.
“Yes, we have already introduced nine packages of sanctions, and they affect the Russian economy. Although we see that there are attempts to circumvent them. And of course we can’t stand it. We need to start compiling a list of people who buy goods in the EU and bring them to Russia, although the goal of the tenth package of sanctions will be to close these loopholes, close bypass routes and include those who help to circumvent sanctions. The tenth package deals with just that,” von der Leyen said.
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On January 15 The New York Times published an article by Ivan Nechepurenko about goods being imported to Russia in spite of sanctions.
As the author explains, Georgia has become a convenient logistical channel between Russia and the outside world, and goods transiting through Georgia and neighboring countries such as Armenia and Azerbaijan have helped Russia survive the economic downturn caused by its invasion of Ukraine.