Rada Speaker on Papuashvili’s Refusal to Visit Bucha
Verkhovna Rada Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk has criticized Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson Shalva Papuashvili over his refusal to visit the towns of Bucha and Irpin, the sites of evidenced alleged war crimes by Russia.
“Is it appropriate to dub ‘inappropriate’ the invitation to come to a friendly country and see its plight, share its grief, express words of support?” the Rada Speaker said in a Facebook post. “This is the only thing that leaves me dumbfounded.”
Speaker Stefanchuk further asserted that “a friend should” have visited Bucha even without an invitation.
“A friend should spare himself no trouble for his friend’s sake, he should give heart for heart, love as a road and a bridge,” he added, quoting the Georgian medieval epic poem The Knight in Panther’s Skin.
Referring to Speaker Papuashvili’s remarks that he would like to see Ukrainian officials “fully understand” the support of the Georgian people and government, the Rada Speaker said: “Ukraine appreciates any assistance it receives from other countries at this difficult time.”
“We are asking every day for tougher sanctions, military, political and financial support,” he stressed, going on to note that “there are countries that help us in all areas. There are countries that help only in individual issues.”
Speaker Stefanchuk underscored that Ukraine “has always appreciated the sincere support of the fraternal Georgian people.”
“We know that Georgians are always sincere, brave and courageous warriors, many of whom today stand side by side with our defenders, defending Ukraine from Russian invasion,” the Speaker stressed.
He said that similarly, “many Ukrainians in 2008 stood by the Georgians against the same one who encroached on your independence, swallowed a piece of your territory, and killed your people.”
He recalled that “from the first days” of the Russo-Georgian war, Ukraine aided Georgia “at the political, informational, international and military levels.”
“I just want to remind you that thanks to the Ukrainian air defense systems (Buk, Osa) you defended your sky.”
“But we are not measured by the size of support,” he pointed out. “Support should always be sincere.”
Parliament Speaker of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili rejected the trip to Ukraine on April 8, stressing his counterpart’s invitation seemed inappropriate amid “an attempt by high-ranking Ukrainian officials to separate the Georgian people and its government [in their support to Ukraine], the demand for opening a second frontline in Georgia, unfounded diplomatic démarches, baseless allegations, or accusations on profiteering by Ukrainians’ misfortune.”
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