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Putin: Russia ready to cancel visa regime with Georgia

December 17, 2015, 14:11 UTC+3
Russia did not initiate the degradation of Russian-Georgian relations, Georgia's former adventurist government is to blame, the Russian president notes
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© EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russia is ready to restore relations and to abolish visas with Georgia, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"We are ready to restore relations. Territorial integrity of Georgia is first of all the business of the Georgian, the south-Ossetian and Abkhazian people," the president said, noting that Russia would accept any decision Georgia would agree with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia is "seeing signals from the current Georgian leadership and these signals are accepted," Putin said at his annual news conference. He drew attention of the audience to the fact that Russia accounted for two thirds of Georgian exports of vine materials and wine.

He said trade between the two countries had grown, demonstrating "a rather high pace of growth".

"As for the visa regime, yes, we think we are ready to abolish it," the president said.

Georgia's former adventurist government should carry the historic blame for the country's break-up, and Russia did not initiate the degradation of Russian-Georgian relations, President Putin told the keynote annual news conference.

"We have not caused the situation to worsen," Putin said. "Georgia's former leadership and then President (Mikhail) Saakashvili should not have taken such adventurist decisions that led to Georgia's territorial break-up. It is their blame. This blame is historic and they should carry it in full."

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called the appointment of Michael Saakashvili to position of Odessa’s governor a "spit in the Ukrainian people."

"Now, export of political figures is popular — they are actively working in another former republic of the Soviet Union - in independent Ukraine. As we can see, those people have not changed their styles. In my opinion, it is just a spit in face of the Ukrainian people," he told the news conference.

"Putting Ukraine under the outside governance seemed insufficient to them. They chose to delegate such, so to say, political figures. I believe, Saakashvili was refused a working visa to the US. And they chose to direct him to Ukraine — to manage there. And thus, he is functioning actively there."

"What was Ukraine told: we shall not be only managing you, but we shall also send over people from more civilized countries, neighbouring or across the ocean, to manage you. We shall give key positions to them — the finances, the economy and so forth. The thing is — you [the Ukrainian people] are unable to do this. Look, others can, but you cannot. Of 45 million people they cannot find 5-10 honest, effective managers. It is simply a spit in face of the Ukrainian people," the Russian president said.

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