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Ukraine's Foreign Ministry condemns Georgian PM's 'Ukrainization' comment

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 18, 2024 7:57 PM 2 min read
Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze at a press conference on April 12, 2024. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Foreign Ministry responded on April 18 to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze's comment that the foreign agents law was needed to defend Georgia against "Ukrainization," condemning the prime minister's words as "disturbing."

Georgia's parliament passed a controversial foreign agents bill in its first reading on April 17 amid mass protests against the law, which would require organizations that receive foreign funding to be labeled as "foreign agents."

The bill was first introduced in 2023 by Kobakhidze's Georgian Dream party, but was abandoned after it sparked mass demonstrations.

The Georgian Dream party recently reintroduced the legislation in parliament, renaming it a bill on the "transparency of foreign influence" but keeping the intent of the previous law essentially identical.

The bill is widely known in Georgia as the "Russian law" for its resemblance to similar legislation passed in Russia, used to target Kremlin critics.

Kobakhidze said the law was necessary to protect Georgia from "Ukrainization" and to strengthen its sovereignty, which is necessary for EU integration.

"Mentioning the name of our country in such an offensive context causes additional damage to Ukrainian-Georgian relations," Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Russification, but not mythical "Ukrainization", is a real threat to Georgia," and Ukraine "continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders," the Ministry said.

"Respecting the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as involving the civil society in settling socially important issues, are necessary conditions for building the country’s European future," the Ministry said.

Georgian parliament moves forward with controversial foreign agents law as protests continue
The legislation was approved by 83 lawmakers of Georgia’s 150-member parliament, with opposition lawmakers boycotting the vote.
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