How Moscow Wages War on Other Countries
Ukraine and Georgia are nations united by a common enemy - the Kremlin, whose aggressive policy led to the occupation of territories in both countries. We are concluding the series '11 Years of Occupation'.
Ukrainians and Georgians; protesting together against a common enemy; the Kremlin. Donbas war veteran Oleksiy Kushnir and his wife joined the demonstrations, sparked by a Russian Communist lawmaker’s visit.
“I was shoulder-to-shoulder with my friends from Georgia when I fought as part of the Azov volunteer battalion in Donbas in 2014. And now finding myself in Tbilisi, I couldn’t help but come here and support the friendly Georgian people – because we have a common enemy and misfortune,” Kushnir, a Donbas war veteran said.
Some Ukrainians living in Georgia fear Russia’s hybrid war tactics in South Ossetia will further evolve in their homeland.
“I was immediately reminded of Tskhinvali when the Crimea situation happened. It was the same story; passports were distributed, they wanted to protect the Russian-speaking population. It’s very similar and simply, painfully familiar,” Tetiana Ursulenko said.
“The scenarios are similar. They need Kyiv and Tblisi in their orbit of influence. Here, they have their own economic interests and in general, a zone of influence. As for Ukraine, the Russian empire without Ukraine is impossible. They all understand perfectly; the success of the Ukrainian state will directly lead to another fall of the Russian Empire. Our success story is a direct threat to Russia’s national security the way the Kremlin sees it and is building it,” Head of the South Caucasus Department of the Centre For Army Studies, Volodymyr Kopchak, said.
Journalist Egor Kuroptev says that the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy in Eurasia isn’t limited to Ukraine and Georgia.
“One shouldn’t necessarily limit this to Ukraine when there are war and occupation in Georgia. There is Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Karabakh conflict, resolving which will never be in the Kremlin’s interest. Then there’s also the frozen conflict of Abkhazia, there’s Crimea, Luhansk, Donetsk and so on. These are levers of influence, pressure and intimidation. Are Ukrainians or Georgians scared of this? No, not really. On the contrary, the reaction is more like, ‘why don’t you just go to hell?’,” Kuroptev said.
We spoke with Beka Basilaia, a protester. He’s sure that the Kremlin risked invading Ukraine, partly because of the weak international response to Russia’s 2008 attack on Georgia.
“Russia must be stopped. What Russia is doing in Ukraine is vandalism. What are they saying? That the Russians are Orthodox, but they went ahead and attacked an Orthodox state. And they keep saying that Ukrainians are their brotherly nation while killing Ukrainians,” Basilaia said.