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Georgia declares non-recognition of referendum in South Ossetia

Georgian ruling party rules out recognition of South Ossetian referendum Georgian authorities do not recognize the de facto referendum in South Ossetia on unification with Russia, as well as the presidential elections in this country and its government, said the head of the ruling party. Voting will take place on July 17

Tskhinvali, South Ossetia

The Georgian authorities do not intend to recognize the referendum in South Ossetia on the issue of unification with Russia, which will be held on July 17, as well as its results, said the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Irakli Kobakhidze, quoted by Imedinews.

"With regard to such initiatives, we have a clear policy, and we do not recognize either the de facto government, or the de facto elections, or the de facto referendum. Our position on this matter is very clear, very clear. Therefore, it is natural to follow the same line, — he said.

The day before, Anatoly Bibilov, the current president of South Ossetia, which the Georgian authorities consider an occupied region, signed a decree on holding a referendum on the question of the republic's entry into Russia. Voting will take place on July 17th. Bibilov stated that he “was guided by the historical desire of the people of the Republic of South Ossetia for reunification with Russia and in accordance with paragraph 16 of Article 50 of the Constitution of the Republic, such wording is given in his decree. On the night of May 14, the document was approved by the Supreme Court of South Ossetia.

On voting day, citizens will have to answer the question of whether they support “unification of the Republic of South Ossetia and Russia”.

Bibilov lost the presidential election to his rival, the head of the opposition Nykhas party. Alan Gagloev, he is expected to take office after May 20. After the election, Gagloev emphasized that the authorities would organize a referendum when they received a signal from Moscow, since the decision should be made by both sides. “The main factor here is the willingness of the Russian Federation to take on such responsibility,” — he said.

In response to the initiative, the Kremlin noted that they would respect the results of the vote, but noted that Moscow did not participate in this process in any way from a legal point of view. Deputy head of the commission “United Russia” for International Cooperation Andrei Klimov and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs Artem Turov said that there are no obstacles for the region to join the country.

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Georgia submitted answers to the first part of the questionnaire for EU accession

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili handed over the answers to the first part of the questionnaire required for joining the EU. Tbilisi plans to send answers to the sectoral part by May 13. A decision on Georgia's EU membership is expected at the end of June

Karl Khartsel and Irakli Garibashvili

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, handed over the answers to the first part of the questionnaire for obtaining the status of a candidate for EU membership, to the head of the EU Delegation in Tbilisi, Karl Hartzel, the press service of the administration of the Georgian government reports.

Gharibashvili added that the government Georgia and all relevant departments continue intensive work on filling out the second, sectoral part of the questionnaire, which includes 33 chapters and up to 2300 questions. According to him, Tbilisi wants to transfer the second part of the questionnaire to the EU by May 13.

The press service noted that after receiving the completed questionnaire, the European Commission will start preparing its own assessment report, which will then be submitted to the Council of the European Union, and a corresponding decision on Georgia's possible accession to the EU is expected by the end of June.

Georgia applied for EU membership together with Moldova in early March, following Ukraine. The desire for EU membership and Euro-Atlantic security structures is enshrined in the country's Constitution.

Georgia and Moldova received a questionnaire for obtaining the status of a candidate for EU membership on April 11, Ukraine— two days earlier. The head of the Moldovan Foreign Ministry, Nikolai Popescu, then said that he expected Chisinau to fill out the document within a few weeks. Ukraine handed over the completed questionnaire on April 18.

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Georgia urges US to increase its political support

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili called on Western partners, including the United States, to “remember” Georgia and Moldova and demonstrate political support for these countries, which will be an “important signal” to Moscow

Georgia now needs the political support of Western partners, including the United States , as an “important signal” for Moscow, President Salome Zurabishvili said in an interview with The Hill.

She said she hoped to see Georgia among the talking points released by the Biden administration, saying it would send “an important message” for Moscow. Zurabishvili stressed that this is not about increasing military assistance, but about demonstrating political support for Georgia, as well as Moldova.

According to her, despite the fact that Moscow cannot now deploy troops to start a new operation, Russia “can still play on nerves,

and this is what it is doing in Transnistria, trying to sow fears, destabilize the population”

“In this way, Russia shows that even if it is focused on Ukraine, it does not forget Moldova and [Georgia]. So, again, our Western partners should, for their part, not forget Georgia, — she said.

Zurabishvili also indicated that Georgia does not intend to back down from its NATO aspirations, as it seeks security guarantees.

In early April, after announcing the resignation of Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and his appointment as the country's ambassador to the United States, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili called Washington the most important strategic partner of Georgia. According to him, the task of Tbilisi — bring relations between the two countries to a new, higher level. “I believe David can do it,” — he said.

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In mid-February, Reuters reported that Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze, while on a visit to Brussels, said that the country's accession to NATO is the only way to preserve the country's territorial integrity. In early March, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the issue of membership of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO is not currently on the agenda. Presidents of the United States and France Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron and Secretary General of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg also spoke about this.

Источник rbc.ru

Georgia will not become a country to bypass the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation because of Ukraine

Photo: pixabay.com

Georgia will not be drawn into the “game” imposed by the EU and the US, and will not become a platform for evasion of sanctions imposed on Russia because of Ukraine, said Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party, ex-speaker of parliament.

In an interview with the Georgian TV channel Imedi, he explained that he did not will allow the country to be manipulated by both European and Russian partners.

Let us recall that Tbilisi and Moscow have developed close relations and they are negotiating to establish a “smuggling route” for the transport of weapons Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk said earlier this week.

In an interview with the Georgian TV channel Formula, she recalled that Georgia had refused to impose sanctions against Moscow.

Источник www.mk.ru

Russians in Georgia help to evacuate Ukrainians  

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Russians in Georgia help to evacuate Ukrainians  

Hundreds of Russian dissidents and members of civil society who have challenged Vladimir Putin’s government have settled in nearby Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The country’s relaxed visa rules and low cost of living have attracted artists, activists and journalists. Some who’ve settled there are now working to support their fellow Russians and protest the war from afar.

The WorldApril 7, 2022 · 11:00 AM EDT

A demonstrator holds a Ukrainian national flag in front of the Georgian Parliament during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 1, 2022. Some Russians who've resettled in Georgia are now helping Ukrainians evacuate.

Shakh Aivazov/AP

In a spacious office in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a group of young volunteers, hunched over cellphones and computers, works to evacuate Ukrainains fleeing the war.

“This is a place where people come alive,” said Alina Muzychenko, 36, a Russian activist and volunteer. “We’re all in shock about what’s happening, and for our team, it’s a way to mobilize our energy and do something.”

Members of the grassroots group Helping To Leave, founded by activists, journalists and artists on Feb. 24, the day the war in Ukraine started, are here around the clock to aid Ukrainians looking for safety, psychological support, financial aid and more.

Related: Ukraine is now urging people to evacuate the Donbas. This Ukrainain American pastor is risking his life to help.

Many of the volunteers are Russians who recently left their own country for safety reasons. They are part of an outspoken generation who fear they could be jailed for opposing the war.

“[They’re] the young voice of the revolution.” 

Alina Muzychenko, Russian activist and volunteer with Helping to Leave in Tbilisi, Georgia

“[They’re] the young voice of the revolution,” said Muzychenko, who moved to Tbilisi last year after she faced intimidation in Russia for her work.

Alina Muzychenko, 36, and Egor Eremeev, 34, protest the war in Ukraine from their new home in Tbilisi, Georgia. Many Russian activists say they can do more productive work abroad where they no longer face the risk of arrest for their work. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Vasya Krestyaninov

At least 20,000 Russians have arrived in Georgia since the war in Ukraine started in February. Hundreds of them are activists and journalists fleeing a recent crackdown on dissent inside Russia. Thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting the war. Even just calling the conflict a “war” is a criminal offense in Russia.

Related: Body armor factories in the Americas are sending gear to war-torn Ukraine

Muzychenko left Russia in June 2021 as a part of a growing wave of Russian dissidents who started leaving in the months before the war started. While living in Moscow, Muzychenko helped found Kultrab, an artist collective and clothing brand that works to raise awareness about issues like Russia’s crackdown on LGBTQ rights.

A model working with Kultrab poses with a new line of merchandise to raise money for a Russian organization providing legal services to protesters detained by authorities. Since its founding, Kulbrab has used fashion to fundraise for independent organizations in Russia. Kulbrab’s founders eventually left Russia because of their work. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Zhenya Filatova

In addition to activism and art, Kultrab also designed clothing to raise money for the independent media outlet Mediazona, which focuses on Russia’s judicial and prison systems.

Since Kultrab was founded in 2017, Muzychenko said that officials from Russia’s Center for Combatting Extremism started showing up at Kultrab’s events and following them on social media. Their collective came under more pressure last year when Russia started labeling independent media outlets as foreign agents.

That growing list of media organizations eventually included Mediazona.

Muzychenko said that she felt compelled to leave Russia because collaborating with organizations deemed by the government as “undesirable” is a criminal offense in the country.

“We understood that the young people who we work with might run into danger,” Muzychenko said. “That's why we decided to leave.”

These days, Muzychenko devotes most of her time in Tbilisi to Helping to Leave.

Related: Refugees find a welcome in Catalan Guissona’s ‘Little Ukraine’

Irma Fatianova, 32, who previously worked with jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny before leaving Russia for Tbilisi, helps with fundraising for the project.

“Before, it was just Navalny and his associates [who were at risk], but now, the threat falls on anyone who expresses their opinion publicly,” Fatianova said. “So, it makes sense to leave Russia and do something useful on the outside.”

Many Russians choose Georgia because they don’t need visas, and lots of Georgians speak Russian. In Tbilisi, there are now people dedicated to helping them.

“It changed from 12 hours a day of work to 22 hours a day of work immediately after the war started,” said Egor Kuroptev, director of the South Caucasus Office of the Free Russia Foundation, an organization that has been offering assistance to Russians arriving in Tbilisi in addition to other tasks like countering misinformation about the war.

Roman Dmitrienko sits in a detention center outside Moscow after he and Kultrab’s co-founder, Egor Eremeev, were arrested for attending a rally in support of Alexei Navalny in March 2021. Eremeev left Russia and moved to Tbilisi, Georgia, shortly after his release. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Vladimir Rumyantsev

Kuroptev’s office has received requests from thousands of Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians seeking assistance since the war started. He said that some of the Russians coming to Georgia are activists, but there are also lots of working professionals.

Related: Reliable death tolls from the Ukraine war are hard to come by — the result of undercounts and manipulation

“They want to leave because they're under sanctions, their bank cards are not working, they cannot receive payments from abroad,” Kuroptev said.

The Georgian government has downplayed the significance of Russians coming here, saying the numbers are about the same as Russian tourists who visited Georgia before the pandemic. But hundreds of dissidents have now settled in Georgia. Kuroptev said that the Kremlin puts constant pressure on Georgia, which makes the authorities in Tbilisi consider all possible risks and sometimes act unpredictably.

“When any country around Russia sees that some maniac can start a war without any single reason, they're afraid,” Kuroptev said.

Some Russians in Tbilisi say they’ve been mostly welcomed here. But anti-Russian graffiti has turned up on the streets and some landlords have posted online that they won’t rent to Russians.

“After the war, there started to be way more Russophobia, and it makes total sense.”

Yulia Lutikova, Russian artist and volunteer with Helping to Leave in Tbilisi, Georgia

“After the war, there started to be way more Russophobia, and it makes total sense,” said Yulia Lutikova, 19, a Russian artist who moved to Tbilisi last year who also works with Helping to Leave.

Lutikova said that she sympathized with Georgians who are likely to judge Russians by the behavior of their government. For Russians like Lutikova, even just getting in a Tbilisi taxi and conversing with the driver in Russian  — which usually means having to explain whether you’re from Russia — can feel extremely uncomfortable.

Egor Eremeev, 34, and Alina Muzychenko, 36, are the co-founders of Kultrab, an artist collective and clothing brand that works to raise awareness about issues like Russia’s crackdown on the rights of the LGBTQ community. They relocated to Tbilisi in 2021 after facing intimidation for their activism in Russia. 

Credit:

Levi Bridges/The World

But despite the occasional awkward moment, Lutikova said that she’s doing things in Georgia that she never could in Moscow. She went to a rally in support of Ukraine recently and held up a big poster denouncing Russia’s leadership.

“Before, that would have been like a dream,” Lutikova said. “Here [in Georgia], free speech exists everywhere, it doesn’t matter what it’s about.”

Even though Russians in Tbilisi are far away from home, Russian dissidents remain committed to returning home when the government changes.

Muzychenko, the co-founder of Kultrab, said that she and her friends hope to return to Russia someday.

“We love Russia, we love Belarus, we love Ukraine, and we really want people from all these countries to be able to have a say in politics or go to a peaceful protest without being in danger,” Muzychenko said.

For the moment, Muzychenko and other young Russians in Tbilisi have focused their energy on helping Ukrainians. Russian activists feel they can do much more important work in Georgia than they can from a prison cell in Russia. 

Stoltenberg: NATO will increase support for Ukraine and Georgia

Photo: Global Look Press

NATO will not send ground troops into Ukraine and close the sky over it so as not to provoke Russia. But the alliance intends to provide Kiev with military assistance and will significantly increase its own presence in Eastern Europe.

This was announced by Secretary General of the military bloc Jens Stoltenberg following an emergency summit held in Brussels. Ukraine, in particular, will receive equipment for protection against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear thunderstorms. NATO allies have also agreed to provide Kiev with further humanitarian assistance.

In addition, four tactical battle groups will be established in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. 40,000 troops have already been deployed on the eastern flank of the alliance.

NATO Secretary General announced the creation of the Diana military innovation fund, which will include more than 60 scientific sites.

Against the backdrop of the situation in Ukraine the alliance will strengthen military support for Georgia, Herzegovina and Bosnia.

See also: The essence of the American Lend-Lease for Ukraine was clarified

Источник www.mk.ru

Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia called Ukraine a reserve of Georgian criminals

Ukraine has become a “reserve” for criminals fleeing Georgia, Deputy Prime Minister Tsulukiani said. She called the words of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine that Georgia provides Russia with its territory for the smuggling of military equipment

Ukraine has become a reserve for criminals from Georgia, Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Teya Tsulukiani said, local GHN agency reports.

So she commented on the statement of Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk, who said that Georgia provides Russia with its territory for the smuggling of military equipment and spare parts.

“Unfortunately, through no fault of ours, even during my tenure as Minister of Justice, Ukraine has become a reserve for criminals fleeing Georgia. Therefore, I would like the Ukrainian government to cooperate not with the fleeing criminals, but with the government of Georgia”, — suggested Tsulukiani.

And she declared Vereshchuk's statement disinformation and a “dirty lie.” “I assure you, the borders of Georgia are controlled. The Ministry of Finance of Georgia has issued an official statement that the borders are controlled and that any sanctioned goods, whether military, dual-use materials or other goods, are subject to strict customs control at our borders,— the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk said that Georgia and Russia are discussing the possibility of smuggling military equipment and spare parts through the territory of Georgia.

“Our Main Intelligence Directorate publicly declared and accused Russia and Georgia of negotiating the opening of a smuggling channel behind our backs. It [is] not about pasta or buckwheat, it is about military equipment, about military spare parts, — Vereshchuk announced.

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After Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine and other countries began to impose sanctions against it, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that joining the economic and financial sanctions would harm the inhabitants of the republic. On April 3, he again took the same position.

A GORBI poll commissioned by the Imedi TV company showed that 64.5% of the polled Georgian citizens called the lifting of sanctions correct.

However, on April 1, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said in an interview that the country is participating in all international financial sanctions and resolutions to support Ukraine.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recalled the ambassador from Georgia. He called the reason “immoral position in relation to sanctions”, as well as “obstacles for volunteers” who want to help Ukraine. The Georgian authorities emphasized that they would not send volunteers from their citizens to the country, because “this may be perceived as participation in hostilities.”

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Georgia again pushed to war with Russia

But Tbilisi is not even thinking about the forceful restoration of territorial integrity

The President of Ukraine said that the Ukrainian ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco would return to Kyiv. He believes that they are not doing their job: “With all due respect: if there are no arms supplies, sanctions and restrictions for Russian business, then please look for another job,” Zelensky said. Secretary of the Security Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov recently unequivocally called on Georgia to open a “second front” against Russia.

Photo: pixabay.com

Many questions were also raised by the recent visit to Tbilisi by Deputy Minister of the British Armed Forces James Happy, who met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze. Some observers interpreted these talks as yet another attempt by the West to draw Georgia, if not into a war, then at least into a more open confrontation with the Russian Federation and force it to join the anti-Russian sanctions.

In Tbilisi, provocations by functionaries of the Kiev regime are still assessed negatively. Representatives of the ruling party “Georgian Dream” say that the war with Russia is not in the interests of the Georgian people. Even the announcement of South Ossetian President Bibilov about a referendum on joining Russia did not shake the peaceful rhetoric of the Georgian leadership. Recall that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Georgia, Igor Dolgov, was recalled to Kyiv on March 1, after Tbilisi refused to join the economic sanctions against Moscow. However, on March 15, he returned to Georgia.

Ex-head of the State Chancellery of Georgia, Petre Mamradze, commented on the situation especially for MK.

– No, there is nothing similar from the West. There was no call to somehow join the war or somehow return the territories in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

I have constant contact with Western diplomats, and I have not heard anything like this from them.

You know that Georgia has joined Ukraine on all political platforms. In the Council of Europe, Georgia first voted to suspend Russia's membership, and then to expel it. Voted for the investigation in The Hague. Georgia voted in the UN General Assembly and condemned the actions of the Russian Federation as aggression.

Georgia did not join the economic sanctions against Russia, but Hungary, a member of NATO and the European Union, Turkey, and Israel did not join the sanctions.

For comparison: Armenia abstained during the vote in the General Assembly, the Azerbaijani delegation left altogether from the hall. The countries of Central Asia did the same. Only Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine voted “yes” from the post-Soviet states. So, as the American ambassador recently stated, Georgia has done everything a democratic country can do to support Ukraine.

– There are Georgian volunteers there. But these are volunteers. The government cannot interfere with a person if he himself goes to Poland and from there makes his way to Ukraine.

Zelensky and his company, by the way, have been categorically warned by the United States and the West not to touch Crimea. Because Crimea is already the territory of the Russian Federation, and there will be a Patriotic War.

Yes, there are calls from Kyiv to “take a walk” towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Our government answered this very clearly: even if all the Russian military were withdrawn from there, Georgia would never think of resolving the problem by force. Because Abkhazians and Ossetians will fight there with the weapons they have. How they fought against the Georgian troops in 2008, when there were no Russian troops yet. This will be bloodshed, which we will not allow.

– This is complete insanity after all that Georgia has done for Ukraine politically. The people now donate everything they can for Ukrainians: clothes, food, medicines. There are queues at the reception points. The ambassador from Georgia is recalled when the ambassador from Belarus has not yet been recalled.

– Because Vano Merabishvili is in Kyiv, released from prison, the backbone of the Saakashvili regime. There sits the right hand of Misha Zurab Adeishvili, who is present at the meetings of the Security Council of Ukraine. Gia Lordkipanidze, a former deputy, is sitting there. Merabishvili, who staged a bloody tragedy in Lapankuri. Now he has become the head of the military counterintelligence of Ukraine. This is a criminal, a man for whom the rope cries. Here is such a company.

Источник www.mk.ru

Georgia joins anti-Russian sanctions over Ukraine

According to Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Tbilisi takes part in all international financial sanctions imposed against Russia because of the situation around Ukraine .

“Our country participates in all international financial sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia, and this really already means something for our financial sector. Now our country participates in all international resolutions that are created to support Ukraine “, she said to CNN.

Recall that on February 25, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that Tbilisi had no plans to impose sanctions against Russia. Later, in the national bank of the republic, the Georgian branch of VTB Bank was deprived of the right to serve individuals.

Источник www.mk.ru

The Bank of Georgia stopped demanding from the Russians to “condemn the special operation”

The Bank of Georgia has canceled the special conditions for Russians that it introduced for opening an account. Previously, citizens were asked to sign a number of provisions, including “condemn the special operation in Ukraine” .jpg” alt=”The Bank of Georgia has ceased to require the Russians to “condemn the special operation”” />

The largest private bank in Georgia Bank of Georgia (Bank of Georgia) canceled the requirement to “condemn the special operation” in Ukraine for Russians who want to open an account, RIA Novosti reported in the bank.

“The regulations that were previously introduced by our bank no longer exist. A citizen of Russia will not have to sign these documents, while the person's application for opening a bank account will be considered by the commission, the decision is made on an individual basis, — said in a financial institution.

RBC sent a request to the press service of the Bank of Georgia.

Another Georgian bank, Terabank, told RIA Novosti that it had not introduced “any new regulations.” All Russian citizens in Georgia, except for those under sanctions, like other foreigners, can open a bank account and receive appropriate services, it noted. The same was noted in the TVS bank. “We do not force any documents to be signed”, — told the agency there.

The fact that the Bank of Georgia began to require Russians who want to open accounts to sign a number of provisions became known on March 4. As Interpressnews reported, a statement in English appeared on the bank's website. According to him, the Russians had to assure that they “condemn Russia's aggression against Georgia and Ukraine”, consider their country an “occupier”; and recognize the territorial integrity of Georgia.

As Kommersant reported on March 5, due to unwillingness to sign such a document, the Bank of Georgia refused three Russian families who arrived in Georgia on vacation.

At the same time, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated that he condemns cases of discrimination against Russian citizens on ethnic grounds and called on law enforcement agencies to take measures to prevent and suppress any physical clashes and attempts to incite ethnic hatred. Those responsible for such actions should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, asked Russians and compatriots abroad to report “facts of violations, pressure, blackmail, threats, any form of discrimination. According to the representative of the department, Maria Zakharova, a round-the-clock hotline has been set up in almost every embassy and consulate. “We will systematize all this in order to work with local authorities, in international organizations, in order to put an end to the persecution of Russians where there are such manifestations,” — she said.

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Источник rbc.ru

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the denial of access to biolaboratories in Georgia and Ukraine

The United States denied Russia, as well as special observers, access to biolaboratories in Ukraine and Georgia. This speaks of military experiments prohibited by international conventions, said Maria Zakharova. Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova on the air of the TVC channel.

“We sought access to these laboratories through international legal institutions (in Georgia and Ukraine). What were we told? … They (USA.— RBC) said fantastic things. Visit laboratories? Of course. Sit in the reception area. <…> And you can’t go inside the laboratories, neither you nor specialized observers, — Zakharova said.

According to her, this speaks of the experiments carried out in these laboratories, which are “outlawed.” Zakharova stressed that these biolaboratories are controlled by the Pentagon, which means that research in them is connected specifically with military programs, since the department “will not spend a single cent without a clear focus on the national military interests of the United States.”

p>

In early March, Igor Kirillov, head of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, reported on 30 biological laboratories in Ukraine that were commissioned by the Pentagon. He later stated that they could be used to create bioagents that could selectively target ethnic groups.

On March 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that biological weapons components were being created in Ukraine in the immediate vicinity of the Russian border.

In the United States, accusations of developing biological weapons in Ukraine are denied. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted that Russia could use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine or organize a “false flag” operation. with its use. She also pointed out that China “supported this propaganda.”

Later, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that a possible union between Moscow and Beijing would lead to “incredible” imbalance in the world, therefore, greater respect for the law in the international arena is needed in order not to “push Russia towards China.” Zakharova wrote in her Telegram channel that this is the “false diplomacy of Brussels” and “vile manipulations”, from which there are more crises in the world.

Kyiv also denied the information about the development of biological weapons. “No one has developed any chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction on my land,” — said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to him, the laboratories on the territory of the country have remained since the times of the USSR and they are “engaged in ordinary science”, not military technologies.

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Scholz called it right to refuse Ukraine and Georgia admission to NATO

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the refusal of Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO was correct, ZDF reports.

During a conversation with the channel's correspondents, he noted that currently this issue is not on the agenda of the North Atlantic Alliance.

“It was the right decision, then there were very long negotiations in NATO on this issue,” Scholz noted.

At the same time, he also stressed that there was allegedly no plan to deploy alliance missiles on the territory of Ukraine.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military special operation on the territory of Ukraine. According to the head of state, its goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country. At the same time, he stressed that Moscow's plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories.

Earlier it was reported that Germany intends to supply Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank guns and 500 Stinger missiles.

Источник aif.ru

Georgia vows not to be drawn into conflict in Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky motivated the recall of the ambassador from Georgia by “an obstacle to volunteers” and Tbilisi’s position in relation to sanctions. Georgia does not want to be drawn into the conflict, Georgian Dream responded ” alt=”Georgia promised not to be drawn into the conflict in Ukraine” />

Irakli Kobakhidze

The decision of the President of Ukraine to recall the ambassador from Georgia is inconsistent and indicates that Kyiv wants to drag the country into the war, said Irakli Kobakhidze , chairman of the Georgian Dream party, Rustavi 2 reports.

“We cannot get involved in a military conflict. There was a direct attempt [in Georgia] to organize the sending of volunteers to participate in the conflict, it was not achieved, and this was followed by this very sad step, — said Kobakhidze, commenting on the decision of the Ukrainian leader.

According to him, this step is unacceptable and unjustified, especially given the actions of Georgia in recent days. Kobakhidze stressed that Georgia understands that Ukraine is in a difficult situation and it would be wrong to criticize Kyiv.

Earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced the immediate recall of the ambassador from Georgia “for obstacles volunteers who want to help us for <…> position on sanctions. Zelensky pointed out that the country's diplomats in the current situation are making “fair and absolutely necessary decisions”; in relation to those states that “changed their word and international law.”

After the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that Tbilisi would not join the sanctions against Moscow, because intends to be guided by “only national interests”, and supporting Western sanctions will harm the country.

At the same time, Garibashvili condemned Moscow's actions and called them contrary to international law. According to him, the Georgian government is making every effort to provide Kiev with political and humanitarian assistance.

Источник rbc.ru

Stoltenberg announced NATO exercises in Georgia before the end of the year

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: the alliance will hold military exercises in Georgia before the end of the year At the same time, the Georgian Defense Minister said that the country's entry into the alliance is the only way to preserve the country's territorial integrity

NATO will hold military exercises in Georgia before the end of the year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference following the meeting of the defense ministers of the countries— members of the organization, broadcasted by the Guardian News YouTube channel.

“There will be exercises in Georgia later this year, NATO will take part in them, since we are conducting these exercises together. These exercises demonstrate how closely we cooperate, — he said.

Stoltenberg once again announced the presence of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine and stressed that the alliance does not observe their withdrawal from the border. “They have enough troops, enough capabilities to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in a very short time or without any warning,” & mdash; he said and stressed that the alliance will continue to support the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia.

At the same time, Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze, who is visiting Brussels, said that the country's entry into NATO is the only way to preserve the country's territorial integrity, reports Reuters.

The aggravation in the east of Ukraine has been going on since last autumn, when the Western media began to report that Russia was preparing an invasion of the republic. Repeatedly called the date of the invasion. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied information about the preparation of a military operation and pointed to an increase in the NATO contingent near the Russian borders.

Against the background of the escalation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in early December that Moscow needed legal security guarantees. At the end of the year, the Russian side submitted security proposals to the United States and NATO, including points about not accepting Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance and not using the territory of Russia's neighboring states for the deployment of offensive weapons.

Later, the North Atlantic Alliance sent Russia responses in writing , however, as Putin noted, the key problems of Russia were not taken into account there. At the same time, the United States, in its response, expressed its readiness to discuss confidence-building measures in organizing exercises in Europe, not to deploy nuclear weapons in its eastern part, and to continue discussing security issues.

In 2008, NATO summit in Bucharest adopted a political statement that Ukraine and Georgia would become members of the organization, but refused to provide them with an action plan, which is the first step in the legal procedure. Today, both countries enjoy NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner status, which provides broad access to the alliance's programs and exercises. Australia, Jordan, Finland and Sweden also have this status.

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An earthquake occurred in the south of Georgia

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 occurred in southern Georgia, TASS reports citing the Center for Seismic Monitoring at the University of Elijah.

The epicenter was in the village of Sameba, not far from the border with Armenia. Tremors were felt in Tbilisi and Batumi, as well as other parts of the country.

There were no reports of damage or casualties. According to local media, there was a temporary failure in the mobile network, but now the situation has returned to normal. The power line system is also operating normally.

Earlier last week, tremors of magnitude 5.1 on the Richter scale were recorded off the coast of Cyprus.

Источник aif.ru

Russia beat Georgia and advanced to the semi-finals of the European Futsal Championship

Photo: Frame from video

The Russian futsal team won the 1/4 finals of the European Championship over the Georgian team with a score 3:1. This was reported by Sport Express.

Goals against the Georgian team were scored by Artem Niyazov and Ivan Chishkala. From the Georgian side, Bruno Petri scored the only goal for the Russians.

Now the Russian team will play with the Ukrainian team. The futsal match between the two teams will take place on February 4, 2022. Recall that the European Futsal Championship began on January 19, 2022 in the Netherlands.

Источник www.mk.ru

Georgia canceled COVID-passports

Against the backdrop of a rapid increase in the number of cases, the Georgian government came to the conclusion that a new wave of infections does not significantly increase the burden on hospitals

The Georgian authorities decided to cancel the so-called green passports, which were issued to those who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had been ill. In a message published by the government press service, it is indicated that such a decision was made following a meeting of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters to Combat the Spread of the Pandemic.

The government noted that despite the sharp increase in the number of infections, the situation remains manageable, and the burden on hospitals has not increased significantly. “Most of the patients are treated at home, and their health is monitored by family doctors, whose number has increased in recent days,” — the authorities explained.

The government explained that those who wish to obtain a COVID-passport to travel abroad will continue to be able to use this opportunity.

«Green passport» from December 1, it became mandatory in the republic to visit public places— cafes, restaurants, entertainment centers, cinemas, museums, casinos, hotels and gyms. It was possible to receive it either indefinitely after completing the full course of vaccination, or temporarily in case of a negative test.

Over the past day, 24,201 new cases of infection were detected in Georgia, which was a record number since the beginning of the pandemic. 36 people died (at the peak of the spread of the delta strain, the number of deaths reached 86 per day).

Earlier, the United Kingdom announced the rejection of COVID-passports and a series of other quarantine measures. A similar decision was made in Denmark. There, a vaccination document will be required only from tourists entering the country. Subscribe to Instagram RBC Get news faster than anyone else

Источник rbc.ru

Ex-deputy Dmitry Gudkov was not allowed into Georgia

Oppositionist Dmitry Gudkov said that he would be deported from Georgia to Ukraine Dmitry Gudkov, following Lyubov Sobol, was not allowed into Georgia. The Russian opposition calls this decision “political”

Dmitry Gudkov

Russian oppositionist and former State Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov was not allowed into Georgia, he said in his Telegram channel. Gudkov came to the country to meet with activists and diplomats.

In the video posted by the oppositionist, he is walking along the corridor of the airport, accompanied by people in uniform. According to Gudkov, he will be deported back to Kiev, despite the fact that he had an issued invitation. “At the state level, a decision was made to deport me back to Kiev. The solution is political,— he emphasizes.

Gudkov says that no one officially explained this decision to him.

RBC asked the Border Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and Tbilisi International Airport for comment.

From 2011 to 2016, Gudkov was a State Duma deputy from A Just Russia. In the 2016 elections, he ran for deputies from the Yabloko party. Gudkov was detained on June 1, 2021 as part of a criminal case on causing particularly large property damage by deceit or breach of trust (paragraph “b” of part 2 of article 165 of the Criminal Code). It was about non-payment of a debt under a lease agreement for non-residential premises in 2015–2017.

Before the arrest, the oppositionist's dacha and apartment in Moscow were searched. Also, Aunt Gudkova— was detained as a suspect in the case. Irina Ermilova. 48 hours after the arrest, on June 3, Gudkov was released, having taken from him an obligation to appear. On the same day, the court released Ermilova without a measure of restraint. On June 6, Gudkov announced that he was leaving Russia. The opposition leader left for Ukraine.

In August, Alexei Navalny's colleague Lyubov Sobol was already denied entry to Georgia. She said that at the border she was checked at the base and stated that entry was denied. She attributed the refusal to the unwillingness of the Georgian authorities to spoil relations with Russia.

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NATO Secretary General called on Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova

Stoltenberg: Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/0/47/756432508261470.jpg” alt=”NATO Secretary General urged Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova” />

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia should withdraw troops from territories that the alliance considers belong to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, noting that the Russian military are there without the consent of the authorities of these states. He said this during a briefing after giving Russia a response to its security proposals.

“Russia should refrain from threatening deployment of forces, aggressive rhetoric against NATO countries and other states. Russia must also withdraw its troops from Ukraine, from Georgia and Moldova,»,— Stoltenberg said. He added that Russian troops are “deployed there without the consent of these countries.”

Video

Stoltenberg did not explain which troops and which specific areas of these countries are in question. NATO does not recognize the entry of Crimea into Russia, and does not consider the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR independent. In addition, the alliance regards Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of Georgia. In addition, NATO considers Transnistria, where Russian peacekeepers are deployed, to be Moldovan territory.

During the briefing, Stoltenberg also said that, according to the bloc, progress with Russia is possible in three areas: the restoration of contacts between Russia and NATO; a real discussion of concerns, including Russian ones; conducting exercises.

The Alliance offered Russia to establish a direct line of communication and make maximum use of military contacts, as well as to restore offices in Moscow and Brussels.

After the responses to Russia's security proposals were handed over to Russia, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also spoke. He stated that Washington is ready for negotiations in case of de-escalation and generally prefers the diplomatic way of resolving the conflict. In its response, the United States indicated areas where cooperation between the two states is possible, Blinken explained. According to him, the United States is ready to discuss with Russia the non-deployment of missiles in Ukraine, military exercises in Europe, arms control, transparency and risk mitigation measures. The Secretary of State also emphasized that the principle of “open doors” remains in NATO.

NATO and US responses to Russian proposals were received on Wednesday, they were brought by US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan.

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Scholz spoke about the prospects for Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO

Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that NATO cannot guarantee Russia's non-expansion. However, the entry of new Eastern European countries into the alliance, as he pointed out, “is not on the agenda.” According to the newspaper S & uuml; ddeutsche Zeitung, against the background of this fact, Scholz does not understand why this demand from Russia.

“There can be no such guarantee,” he stressed. The Chancellor added that a transatlantic defense alliance is necessary.

Interestingly, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier that the alliance had already decided to accept Ukraine with Georgia. At the same time, he pointed out that the terms of entry into the alliance for new members were not set.

Meanwhile, Russia's position on NATO expansion reads as follows: neither Ukraine nor Georgia should become members of the alliance. Moscow needs reinforced concrete guarantees that these two countries will not be accepted there.

Источник www.mk.ru

Ryabkov offered the US another “option” on Ukraine and Georgia in NATO

Ryabkov: Russia is ready to consider a US guarantee not to vote for Ukraine's entry into NATO =”https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/7/16/756425980505167.jpg” alt=”Ryabkov offered the US another “option” on Ukraine and Georgia in NATO” />

Sergey Ryabkov

Russia is ready to consider an alternative to NATO's refusal to accept Ukraine into the bloc— a unilateral commitment by the United States not to vote for the country's entry into the alliance. About this at the site of the discussion club «Valdai» said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“This well-known formula of the Bucharest summit in 2008, that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, this should be excluded, this should be replaced by the understanding that this will never happen. Or alternatively, if the United States makes a unilateral commitment in a legally binding manner that it will never vote for Ukraine and other countries to join NATO, we are ready to consider this option. he said.

Ryabkov added that this would be an easier path for the United States if the state had “enough political will.”

According to him, the priority for Moscow is clear and legally binding US guarantees that Ukraine and other countries Russia opposes membership will not join NATO.

In order for a state to become a full member of the alliance, the consent of all its members is required at the stage of ratification of the accession protocol. For example, Macedonia for a long time could not join NATO, as this was prevented by Greece because of the dispute over the name of the country. Athens claimed that the toponym “Macedonia” extends to part of Greek territory, which gives the Macedonians the right to lay claim to it. As a result, the state officially changed its name to North Macedonia (the dispute with Greece was settled in 2018) and joined NATO in 2020.

Moscow needs a “direct and understandable” a written response to its December proposals for security guarantees, as well as an “article-by-article” analysis, Ryabkov said at a meeting of Valdai. He acknowledged that such a formulation of the issue is unprecedented, but drew attention to the fact that this is dictated by the situation itself. That, in turn, was formed due to the “destructive” exchange rate between the United States and NATO, the deputy minister stressed.

Moscow's proposals on security guarantees were made public in December. In the draft treaty, Russia proposed to consolidate NATO's obligation not to expand eastward, to agree with the United States not to harm each other's security, and to oblige Washington not to establish military bases on the territory of the countries that were part of the USSR. In addition, Russia offered to mutually renounce the deployment of weapons where it would be perceived as a threat, as well as the deployment of nuclear weapons.

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Stoltenberg: NATO has agreed on the entry of Ukraine and Georgia

Photo: pixabay.com

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO had already decided to admit Ukraine and Georgia. At the same time, he pointed out that the terms of entry into the alliance for new members were not set.

“In 2008, we decided that Ukraine and Georgia would become members,” he said in an interview with La Repubblica. “But we did not set when exactly”.

The Secretary General recalled that Kiev had previously turned to NATO with a corresponding request, because this country was supported in terms of reforms, modernization of the army according to the bloc's standards. He expressed the opinion that at the moment Ukraine's defense capability is higher than it was in 2014.

At the same time, Stoltenberg recalled that the NATO collective defense principle applies only to member countries to which Ukraine is officially does not apply yet.

The day before, the Georgian authorities thanked Stoltenberg for “supporting sovereignty.” In particular, President Salome Zurabishvili pointed to the relevant “important statement” that the NATO Secretary General made after the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council. Later, Stoltenberg said that the alliance did not intend to compromise on the issue of expansion to the east.

Источник www.mk.ru

The likely reaction of Russia to the entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO is revealed

Already today, NATO from Estonia can reach St. Petersburg with rocket artillery

The decision on membership of Ukraine and Georgia in NATO has already been made. This was announced on Friday in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica by Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He clarified that the problem is only in terms. They have not yet been determined and depend on how quickly these countries can bring their armed forces up to NATO standards.

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

What might these timeframes be? What threatens us if Ukraine and Georgia are still accepted into NATO? And what might Russia's response be? To these questions «MK» answered the leading Russian military expert, member of the Expert Council of the Board of the Military-Industrial Commission, editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine; Retired Colonel Viktor Murakhovsky.

– «NATO Standards» such a limitless concept that the Alliance can include countries and armies that absolutely do not meet any standards, the expert says. – Here the decision is made according to the situation that is beneficial specifically for the United States and NATO. 

Did when the Baltic countries – the former Soviet republics joined NATO, did they meet at least some of its standards? Of course not. The same applies to the countries of Eastern Europe – the former members of the Warsaw Pact, for example, Bulgaria, Romania. They, too, were inconsistent with the military structure, decision-making processes, and command and control of NATO. Not to mention equipment and weapons – they entered the bloc with old Soviet weapons. That is, when it was beneficial for the United States, nothing stopped them from accepting these countries into NATO. So all the talk about standards and alignment with Alliance structures is it's all just a figure of speech. 

Murakhovsky refused to openly comment on specific military and military-technical measures that Russia could take if Georgia and Ukraine join NATO, because, according to him, the situation here largely depends on Moscow's political decisions. At the same time, he clarified that the “remote threat” already exists on the borders of Russia.

– From the center of St. Petersburg to Estonia, 180 km. And now Estonia, along with other countries, is buying the MLRS and HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems from the United States, which calmly cover the entire St. Petersburg. There are generally less than 70 km to Pskov. And when we talk about the fact that such countries as Ukraine and Georgia are appearing in NATO, then for us this simply poses a new direct threat. In addition to all those strike weapons and missile systems that already worry us today, a ground military group will be present at our borders. The enemy will be practically in the same place where he stood in the 17th century when he threatened Smolensk, Moscow.

Naturally, we are not ready to look at everything that happens indifferently. Our retaliatory measures on this score are not yet pronounced aloud and are not submitted for general discussion. But I will say this: we will focus on an asymmetrical response that will create a threat directly to the United States itself, and not to some kind of Ukraine.

Источник www.mk.ru

The first two cases of infection with the Omicron strain detected in Georgia

Plot The spread of a new strain of coronavirus “omicron”

The first two cases of infection with the omicron strain were detected in Georgia, RIA Novosti reports.

Both patients are citizens of Georgia. One recently arrived from the USA, the other & mdash; from the UAE (Dubai). “ They are in isolation, we are studying 26 contacts with the infected '', & mdash; said the head of the National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze.

Over the past 24 hours, 1,296 people have been identified in the country who have contracted coronavirus, 45 patients have died. & nbsp;

Earlier it was reported that in Russia identified 25 cases of “ omicron '' among residents of Moscow, the Moscow region, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don.

In many countries of the world, the spread of “ omicron '' is alarming. In London, a state of emergency was introduced due to a new strain on December 18, in the Netherlands a lockdown was announced from December 19 to January 14.

Источник aif.ru

The Foreign Intelligence Service has compared the events in Ukraine with Georgia in 2008

The SVR believes that the US and the EU “are deliberately strengthening Kiev's sense of permissiveness and impunity.” This is similar to the situation in Georgia on the eve of the events of 2008, when the former Georgian leader Saakashvili “fell off the chain”

The current situation in Ukraine is similar to the one that developed during the military conflict in 2008 with Georgia, also known as the Five Day War. This is stated in a statement by the press bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

“ The provocative policy of the United States and the European Union, which deliberately strengthens Kiev's sense of permissiveness and impunity, is of utmost concern. We observed a similar situation in Georgia on the eve of the 2008 events. Then [the President of Georgia in 2004 & mdash; 2013] Mikheil Saakashvili “ fell off the chain '' and tried to destroy the Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population of South Ossetia. It cost him dearly, '' & mdash; said the department.

The SVR added that the United States has recently been “ actively intimidating the world community '', claiming that Russia is preparing for aggression against Ukraine. The agency said that the US State Department is transmitting to US allies and partners “ absolutely false information about the concentration of forces on the territory of our country for a military invasion of Ukraine. '' In addition, the United States and its allies continue to supply weapons to the Ukrainian side and “ encourage the use of the delivered means of destruction, including attack unmanned aerial systems, in order to carry out military provocations, '' the SVR said in a statement.

The agency points out that “ aggressive propaganda '' on the part of the United States stimulates Kiev to build up a military grouping in the Donbass. The Russian side has information that the Ukrainian armed forces are concentrating troops in areas bordering Russia and Belarus, the SVR added.

Reports that Russia is building up its military forces on the border with Ukraine began to appear in the media at the end of October & mdash; early November. In particular, The Washington Post and Politico wrote about this. At the same time, the State Border Service of Ukraine stated that they did not see the activity of Russian troops in the immediate vicinity of the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Later, Bloomberg and The New York Times, citing sources, wrote that the EU had received a warning from the United States about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to American intelligence officers, the likelihood of this will increase with the onset of cold weather, if the West does not intervene in the situation, CBS sources reported. Against this background, the US Senate proposed an amendment to the defense budget, which implies sanctions against Nord Stream 2, Russian state-owned companies, banks and the state debt in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that the Russian authorities “ play chess '' with Western countries, moving military equipment and armed forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on France and Germany to start preparing for a possible scenario with Russian military operations in Ukraine.

The Kremlin stressed that the movement of Russian military equipment and army units across the country & mdash; it is exclusively a matter for Russia. Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov called publications on this topic “ low-quality stuffing '' and 'empty pumping' that create tension. He pointed out that Russia has never threatened anyone, does not threaten and does not pose a danger to anyone. According to Peskov, a targeted information campaign is being conducted from the West, the purpose of which is & mdash; present Russia as a side that threatens the process of resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Grebenkin, for his part, said about the increased risks of Ukraine's provocations in the Crimean direction and in relation to facilities in the Azov and Black Seas .

The armed conflict in South Ossetia took place in August 2008. On the night of August 8, Georgia sent troops into the region in order to return it to its territory. In response, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced the launch of Operation Peace Enforcement, stating that the Russian military would conduct a peacekeeping mission and protect civilians. The confrontation lasted five days, the Georgian military was ousted from the territory of South Ossetia, after which the operation was terminated. Following the results of the five-day war, Georgia accused Russia of numerous violations of the Convention on Human Rights, but the ECHR called these claims unfounded.

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Georgia’s green voters helped deliver the Senate to the Democrats

Georgia's green voters helped deliver the Senate to the Democrats

Voters most likely to rank the environment as their top priority are young, Black or Latino, and they were key voters in the two recent senatorial wins in Georgia that gave the majority to Democrats.

Writer
Adam Wernick

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Stacey Abrams speaks to Biden supporters as they wait for former President Barack Obama to arrive and speak at a rally as he campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at Turner Field in Atlanta.

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England to enter third lockdown; Mexico approves Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine; Saudi Arabia ends embargo with Qatar

England to enter third lockdown; Mexico approves Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine; Saudi Arabia ends embargo with Qatar

By
The World staff

A man crosses the street backdropped by the Royal Exchange in the City of London financial district in London, Jan. 5, 2021, on the first morning of England entering a third national lockdown.

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Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a strict new national lockdown starting midnight on Tuesday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the country struggles to cope with a surge in cases and a new, more contagious variant of the virus. Warning that the coming weeks in the UK would be the “hardest yet,” Johnson mandated a lockdown that won’t be reconsidered until at least mid-February.

Despite the dire news, Johnson added he believed the country was entering “the last phase of the struggle” but that hospitals were buckling under the increased COVID-19 caseload more than at “any time since the start of the pandemic.”

And, health authorities in Thailand are warning of a new spike in cases across the country with the government declaring 28 provinces, including Bangkok, as high-risk zones.

What The World is following

Following a recent approval in the UK, health officials in Mexico on Monday approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use and will now begin a slow rollout of its inoculation campaign. Argentina and India have also approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

And, the yearslong tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia appears to be easing. Qatar’s ruling emir arrived in Saudi Arabia this week, following an announcement that the kingdom would end its embargo and open up airspace and its land border with the small Gulf state. The decision to open borders is the first major step toward ending the diplomatic crisis between the Arab states.

From The WorldLatino communities targeted by disinformation ahead of Georgia’s Senate runoffs

Volunteers assemble signs before a rally for Democratic US Senate candidate Jon Ossoff and former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro in Lilburn, Georgia, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. 

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Jeff Amy/AP

With Georgia’s Senate runoffs set for Tuesday and control of Congress in the balance, the stakes are high. And, just like with the presidential election, there’s concern about mis- and disinformation targeting the state’s voters — including its growing Latino community

A recent report by Avaaz, a global civic organization, warned of 20 Facebook pages spreading a disproportionate amount of misinformation about Georgia’s elections. Two of the flagged pages were in Spanish and made inaccurate claims of large-scale voter fraud.

A year after the killing of a top Iranian general, US-Iran tensions remain high

A woman holds a poster showing Gen. Qasem Soleimani, right, head of Iran’s Quds force and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, during the procession to commemorate the first anniversary of their killing by a US drone strike in Baghdad, in Najaf, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Credit:

Anmar Khalil/AP 

Last January, the US killed Iran’s Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. A year later, tensions between the countries are high once again.

Bright spot

A new Icelandic tourism campaign wants people to stop compulsively checking their social media feeds for bad news and instead turn toward “joyscrolling” — which, by their definition, means enjoying soothing videos, music and images from Iceland.

You doomscroll through 22.7 meters of bad news a day. Try joyscrolling, instead. #Joyscroll #LooksLikeYouNeedIceland

— Inspired by Iceland (@iceland) December 8, 2020In case you missed itListen: Tensions high one year after US attack that killed Iran’s Soleimani

People pass by posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center left, head of Iran’s Quds force and fighters killed in fighting during the anniversary procession in the cemetery in Najaf, Iraq, Jan. 4, 2021.

Credit:

Anmar Khalil/AP

It’s been one year since the US killed Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in Iraq. And, on the campaign trail, Democratic candidate Joe Biden said he would end a Trump administration program that makes asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border wait out their court cases in Mexico. President-elect Biden has walked back the timeline of his promise. So what’s next? Also, in the US, hairy crabs are seen as a menace, but in China they are a delicacy — and lately, they are selling big.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Bankrol Hayden – Drop A Tear Lyrics (feat. Lil Baby)

[Chorus: Bankrol Hayden]
I almost dropped a tear for you, uh
I always throw my pain on you (Uh, uh, uh, uh)
My head went straight up, we confused
So many times that we’ve been traded, we’ve been used
But I can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
We’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle
Can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
‘Cause we’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle

[Verse 1: Bankrol Hayden]
Uh, like I ain’t trippin’
I was caught up in your ways
I’m tryna put on for my brothers, that’s my focus nowadays
Like now I’m trippin’
‘Cause you was leavin’ anyway
And your emotions out of place
I never thought that you would change, I swear
Shit so real, I got the chills
I done made this shit so real
Made some money out this deal
Finna pay my momma bills
For my brothers I drill
Spin up, I brought no chill
Get jammed up, we gon’ see who real
In the hospital bed, I was poppin’ them pills, yeah, yeah
Me and you ain’t close, as we just used to be
Used to be
People hit me up, but I ain’t used to it
Family askin’ favors ’cause I got some money now
When I get that money all these bitches actin’ funny now

[Chorus: Bankrol Hayden]
I almost dropped a tear for you, uh
I always throw my pain on you (Uh, uh, uh, uh)
My head went straight up, we confused
So many times that we’ve been traded, we’ve been used
But I can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
We’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle
Can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
‘Cause we’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle

[Verse 2: Lil Baby]
Baby
Told the dealer, got the best appeal lawyer in Georgia
I’ma get it for you
Cookin’ up them meals, make sure I eat
You know I tear for you
Can’t believe no meal to turn sour
I would’ve killed for you
Left me at lowest, I can’t even say I still love you
I’m the type to tell lil’ bro “Don’t shoot”
He gon’ still bust you
Comin’ up, my life was hard
Fat daddy died, we was still in the car
He just did a five, make you doin’ time again
I can’t lose, no, so I gotta win
I love my dawgs, I ain’t gotta friend
Woo ’bout to touch down, he just did ten
Back on the wall, how the f*ck I’ma fall?
When I stand on my team, do you understand?
Buckin’ the law, give a f*ck ’bout your plan
When I hop out my car, my gun in my hand
Niggas switch up and I don’t even know why, it’s so many shit I don’t understand
I can’t drop no tears now
I’ve been cold for some years now

[Chorus: Bankrol Hayden]
I almost dropped a tear for you, uh
I always throw my pain on you (Uh, uh, uh, uh)
My head went straight up, we confused
So many times that we’ve been traded, we’ve been used
But I can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
We’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle
Can’t move on, you know the news had me dropped
‘Cause we’ve come too far, you know we come from the jungle

[Outro: Bankrol Hayden]
I almost dropped a tear for you, uh
I always throw my pain on you (Uh, uh, uh, uh)
My head went straight up, we confused
So many times that we’ve been traded, we’ve been used

In Georgia, a young Latina reluctantly casts her primary vote for Biden

In Georgia, a young Latina reluctantly casts her primary vote for Biden

By
Martha Dalton

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Leticia Arcila, a 20-year-old voter in Atlanta, Georgia, said health care is her top priority in a presidential candidate.

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Courtesy of Leticia Arcila

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This story is part of “Every 30 Seconds,” a collaborative public media reporting project tracing the young Latino electorate leading up to the 2020 presidential election and beyond.

Leticia Arcila didn’t want to take any chances when it came to casting her vote in the Georgia state primary Tuesday, June 9. 

This year, state officials pushed back the primary twice due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then they sent absentee ballot request forms to all of the state’s nearly 7 million registered voters — an unprecedented step to “prioritize the health and safety of Georgians,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. 

But Arcila, a 20-year-old first-generation Mexican American living in Atlanta, insisted on voting in person Tuesday. This year is her first time voting in a presidential election cycle. 

Related: For this young Latina voter, pandemic highlights need for ‘Medicare for All’

Arcila said she looked forward to casting her vote, but it’s bittersweet: she had planned to vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the race in April. To make matters worse, Georgia voters faced chaos at many polling locations Tuesday amid reports of broken voting machines, lack of provisional ballots and hours-long lines.

Georgia’s primary was originally scheduled for March 24. State officials pushed it back to May 19, due to fears about COVID-19. Finally, they pushed it back even further to June 9. In the meantime, Sanders left the race. 

“I literally needed, like, three days just in my room after I saw that Bernie dropped out. I just didn’t want to see Twitter. I didn’t want to see CNN. I didn’t want to do anything.”

Leticia Arcila,20-year-old first-time voter

“I literally needed like three days just in my room after I saw that Bernie dropped out,” Arcila said. “I just didn’t want to see Twitter. I didn’t want to see CNN. I didn’t want to do anything.”

Eventually, she recovered. If she wanted to, she could still vote for Sanders. His name is still on primary ballots in some states, including Georgia. If Sanders earns 25% of the Democratic Party’s delegates, he can secure representation on committees at the party’s convention — allowing him to heavily influence the Democratic platform on issues like health care and college tuition. 

Despite her admiration for Sanders, Leticia has resigned herself to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“If you know that the country is going to go a certain way, it makes sense to do everything possible to try and get Trump out,” she said. “[That’s] basically what I’m trying to go for.”

Although Leticia is determined to vote, that might not be the case for every Latino in Georgia. 

“I think Joe Biden still has a lot of work to do in the Latino community and reaching out to the Latino community.”

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director, GALEO

“The polling indicates that the Bernie supporters among the Latino community were upset about the [primary] outcome, but they’re not necessarily not going to participate in the election,” said Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, or GALEO. “I think Joe Biden still has a lot of work to do in the Latino community and reaching out to the Latino community.”

Related: Can Biden turn out Latinos to vote? Advocacy groups aren’t sure

GALEO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group focused on engaging Latinos in Georgia in the voting process. Gonzalez says as a group, young Latinos haven’t coalesced around Biden’s candidacy yet.

“I’ve seen the staff changes that are happening and additions that are happening on the [Biden] campaign,” Gonzalez said. “So, I certainly think that there’s going to be a significant amount of outreach associated with that.”

There are signs the Biden campaign is finally investing in targeting Latino voters. It recently hired Julie Chávez Rodriguez as a senior adviser working on Latino outreach. Chávez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of civil rights leader César Chávez, has previously worked for Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California and served as deputy director of political engagement for the Obama administration.

Investing in Latino voters in Georgia could pay off big for any campaign. According to Gonzalez, when GALEO began in 2003, there were about 10,000 Latinos registered to vote in Georgia. Now, there are almost 240,000. Gonzalez points out that some recent elections in Georgia have been won by thin margins. For example, President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by 211,141 votes.

“If we show up to vote, the Latino community can determine a competitive statewide race.”

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director, GALEO

“If we show up to vote, the Latino community can determine a competitive statewide race,” Gonzales said.

Getting people to vote during the pandemic, though, could be a challenge. Gonzalez says because Latinos haven’t traditionally voted via absentee ballots, GALEO will spend time explaining that process. 

“The particular instructions are confusing and there’s a lot of ways in which your vote can be disqualified if you don’t follow all the particular steps associated with that process, so there’s going to be a lot of education around that,” he said.

Arcila doesn’t need to be convinced that voting is important. She just wishes she had a candidate who promises the things Sanders did, including universal access to healthcare. 

Arcila was laid off shortly after the pandemic spread in Georgia and doesn’t have health insurance. But even though she thinks Biden lacks bold ideas, she’s committed to voting for him.  

“The country is going to vote one way or another, and so I guess we might as well just go for the thing that’s going to help us in the end and if that’s Biden, then it’s Biden,” she said.

Still, Arcila says Georgia’s delayed primary makes her feel like she missed out on shaping who the Democratic candidate would be.

“It’s hard to kind of accept because you kind of feel like it’s your future,” she said. “And you want to conquer it and make something amazing out of it. It kind of feels almost, like, taken away from you.”

Yelawolf – Box Chevy 7 Lyrics

Play this song

[Intro]
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Yeah

[Verse 1]
If I see two Maybachs, I’ma park it in the middle
Throw my keys at the butler and then get ’em
No ID, I’ma walk up through the middle
Candy-coated whip like a pocket full of Skittles
Money in my pocket but I don’t know how to act right
Glock in the glove box like a flashlight
Cub in the mop-top in the backlight
Zilla Gorilla he’s a killer, that’s night night
Legends in the fog
Got me a Chevy, baby, and I’ma let it crawl
Got me a pack ready, and I’ma make a call
Gettin’ your racks ready and maybe we can talk, y’all
Know we get down motherfuckers in niche, Nashville done got beat up, yeah
Talkin’ shit on the Woozy got crack
Left him on his back, left his fucking feet up

[Pre-Chorus]
We just bad motherfuckers
Bad motherfuckers
Some bad motherfuckers better listen to the song
Tryna be good but they wanna do me wrong
So give me that Loc in the tone
Ghetto cowboy stay ready
All night long let ’em mop

[Chorus]
I hear ’em talkin’, gawkin’, when they see me walkin’
To my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I see you stalkin’, hawkin’, with your coffin
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
You mad I can tell it, tell it, ’cause you jealous
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I pop that trunk and nail it, send it sailin’
From my 1979

[Verse 2]
If I get drunk I’ma leave her, pick her up tomorrow
Don’t get behind the wheel if I’m pickin’ up a bottle
Never roll the dice but, yeah I hit the lotto
Swung to the dirt yeah livin’ by the motto
Catfish Billy trappin’ out the Yamaco
Rebel, I’m a rebel like David Allen Coe
Kickin’ in a red pan, cooking that dough
Brenda does your dog bite, no child no
Legends in the fog
Never go back to being broke not at all
Gotta gold plaque up on the studio wall
I had to go back to get it from my Papa, uh
Alabama, Georgia, Tenenssee
A recipe for disaster, put the beat up
Me and the Chevy’s like pastors to Jesus
A haystack, I’m that needle, we just

[Pre-Chorus]
We just bad motherfuckers
Bad motherfuckers
Some bad motherfuckers better listen to the song
Tryna be good but they wanna do me wrong
So give me that Loc in the tone
Ghetto cowboy stay ready
All night long let ’em mop

[Chorus]
I hear ’em talkin’, gawkin’, when they see me walkin’
To my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I see you stalkin’, hawkin’, with your coffin
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
You mad I can tell it, tell it, ’cause you jealous
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I pop that trunk and nail it, send it sailin’
From my 1979 (Box!), 1979 (Box!)
I hear ’em talkin’, gawkin’, when they see me walkin’
To my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I see you stalkin’, hawkin’, with your coffin
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
You mad I can tell it, tell it, ’cause you jealous
Over my 1979, 1979 (Box!)
I pop that trunk and nail it, send it sailin’
From my 1979 (From my, from my, from my)

[Outro]
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
Oh, oh
Get it, get it, get it
1979
Oh, oh