Ukraine leader calls to sanction Ivanishvili amid leaked conversation with sanctioned Russian oligarch

27 აპრ 202210:48
3 წუთის საკითხავი
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Vladimir Yevtushenkov, sanctioned Russian oligarch who makes military, including attack drones for the Russian Army has confirmed the authenticity of leaked recording in which he is agreeing a friendly business deal with Bidzina Ivanishvili who in turn is heard tasking PM Irakli Garibashvili to meet Yevtushenkov’s envoy.

In an exclusive interview with Formula TV, Yevtushenkov said he talks with Ivanishvili regularly, “even though some recordings are fake.”

Confirming meeting with PM Garibashvili with his envoy, Yevtushenkov said holidays and leisure was the only subject of their discussion.

In a leaked phone conversation, Ivanishvili and Yevtushenkov are heard having a very friendly chat in which Yevtushenkov asks Ivanishvili to meet his envoy Ali Uzdenov in what seems like a wheat export deal. Ivanishvili in return says Prime Minister will meet the envoy on his behalf.

“Times are tough but we should wait off,” Ivanishvili is also heard saying.

The recordings and confirmation of their authenticity by the sanctioned Russian oligarch is set to mark a new low in already extremely strained Georgian-Ukrainian relations.

Reacting to the recordings, David Arakhamia, top aide to Volodymyr Zelenksy, chairman of his party’s faction in the Rada and Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia has already called for personal sanctions against Ivanishvili.

“Ivanishvili has become a Georgian Yanukovich. He and his people are implementing policy towards Ukraine which the Georgian people do not support… The essence of their policy is simply to carry out instructions from the Kremlin,” David Arakhamia said adding that the sanctions should aim at preventing Georgia acting on Russia’s side.

“If indeed true, and political & business leaders in countries who are aspiring to join the EU are dealing with individuals on EU sanctions list, this raises both serious questions about possible sanctions avoidance & also about their commitment to their countries’ European future,” said Miriam Lexmann, MEP and shadow Georgia rapporteur from the European People’s Party in European Parliament.

Georgian Dream leaders first tried to reject the recordings authenticity.

Pariament’s chairman Shalva Papuashvili said the recordings were “obviously fake.”

Following confirmation of their authenticity, Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze said they merely exposed “some kind of trade dealings.”

"Georgia maintains trade relations with Russia, the products are exported and imported, this is our stated position and there is nothing illegal in this and this does not contradict with any principle" Kobakhidze said adding that Ukraine also maintains trade relations with Russia "to a certain extent". 

In the recordings, Yevtushenkov also mentions David who appears to be David Khidasheli, a Russian citizen who played a key role in the cartographers’ case when Georgian Dream alleged the previous government “sold” land to Azerbaijan near a medieval monastery of David Gareja, making it a central issue of the 2020 parliamentary elections.

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