Ukraine recalls envoys from Georgia, Kyrgyzstan

Demonstrators wave the Ukrainian flag during a rally in support of Ukraine in Tbilisi on Feb 28, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV (AFP) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday (March 1) that Kyiv was recalling ambassadors from fellow ex-Soviet republics Kyrgyzstan and Georgia over their government's stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We are recalling for consultations our ambassador from Kyrgyzstan over a justification of the aggression against Ukraine," he said in a video on Facebook.

"We are recalling our ambassador from Georgia, over the obstacles created to the volunteers who want to help us and over the immoral position on sanctions." In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov "expressed support" for Russia's actions in Ukraine, the Kremlin said in a statement.

In Georgia - which faced a devastating Russian invasion in 2008 - the war sparked an outpour of solidarity with Ukraine.

Some 30,000 people rallied Friday in Tbilisi waving Ukrainian and Georgian flags and singing the both countries' national anthems.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has called on Russia to halt the hostilities which she said "shocked the Georgian nation." But Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili sparked an uproar, saying that Tbilisi "will not join" the economic and financial sanctions the West has imposed on Russia over the invasion.

The ruling Georgian Dream party has also refused to attend an extraordinary parliament session convened by opposition parties to denounce Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Mamuka Mamulashvili - the commander of a Georgian unit fighting in Ukraine - told AFP that 200 Georgian volunteers had planned to fly to Ukraine on Monday to fight alongside Kyiv's troops.

They would join some 100 former Georgian soldiers who are already fighting in the war, he said.

"Georgia's government did not allow the charter plane organised by the Ukrainian embassy to land in Tbilisi and we are now exploring other options so that they can get to Ukraine," he said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote Monday on Twitter: "Brave Georgian brothers are waiting at the airport to fly to Ukraine. I hope Garibashvili will show his courage and give permission to fly. Ukraine is waiting! Europe is waiting!" He later tweeted: "Freedom-loving Georgian people, help your Prime Minister make the right decision!"

Follow The Straits Times' live coverage on the Ukraine crisis here.

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