Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili addressed the second summit of the Crimea Platform on 23 August and reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity, sovereignty, and de-occupation strategy.”
“Crimea is Ukraine,” she underscored and added that “it is a great honor for me today to be representing Georgia and its people at this summit for it is essential to stand together in defense of the values that unite us and which I am confident will shape our common future.”
The President highlighted that Ukraine will celebrate its independence day tomorrow and mark “six months of its valorous resistance to Russian aggression.”
“… We all know that the Russian aggression in Ukraine did not start last February and that Crimea was indeed the initial challenge, reminding us too well that unanswered challenges to peace and security, unanswered aggressions to one country’s territorial integrity leads only to more aggression and to more instability,” President Zurabishvili stated.
The President stressed that Georgia is all too familiar with the effects of the “Kremlin’s aggression against its peaceful neighbors” which it experienced in 1921, 1992, and 2008.
“We understand only too well the price your soldiers and your whole civilian populations have paid and are paying,” she said.
On behalf of the Georgian people, President Zurabishvili reaffirmed Georgia’s admiration for Ukraine’s struggle and its belief that “this fight will end in victory…”
She also highlighted however that Ukraine’s “fight is already victorious since it has generated an unprecedented response of the international community, a strong and united response, [and] one that was not foreseen by President [Vladimir] Putin.”
President Zurabishvili added that while such a response was not seen during Crimea’s annexation in 2014 or the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, “today’s response is one that will change the future.”
The Georgia President brought attention to the fact that the war and occupation in Ukraine “significantly undermine the black sea security and hence global security.”
In that context, she pointed to global food shortages as evidence of the widespread effect the war has had, adding that “peace and security cannot be divided… we are all in the same boat.”
The President also congratulated Ukraine for receiving EU candidate status and expressed confidence that “Georgia will soon join its two partners, Moldova and Ukraine, on this common path.”
She expressed certainty that the war will end soon and Ukraine, “standing on the right side of history, will emerge victorious.” “Occupation has no place in the 21st century,” she emphasized.
“I am confident that we will witness our nations regaining unity, territorial integrity, and prosperity in a peaceful and safe Europe,” President Zurabishvili concluded. “Happy Independence Day, Slava Ukraine.”
The Crimea Platform is a Ukrainian diplomatic initiative founded last year and aimed at strengthening international coordination efforts against Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. In light of Russia’s invasion of the country, it took place online this year.
Following last year’s summit, participants adopted a joint declaration, establishing the International Crimea Platform aiming at peaceful de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and committing, among others, to continued non-recognition policy of its illegal annexation, possible employment of further political, diplomatic and restrictive measures towards Russia, and protection of human rights in the peninsula. In the joint declaration, the participants also condemned continued violations of human rights and international law in Crimea, as well as continued militarization and change of the demographic structure in the occupied territory.