MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. Georgia’s authorities have shifted the responsibility for the riots in the country on Russia, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house) Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.
"Georgia’s authorities, who are responsible for the situation in the country, have immediately shifted the blame on Russia, actually without any grounds and in an insulting way," Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.
According to the senator, Russia was forced to take retaliatory measures. "By taking respective restrictive measures, the Russian president could not have acted in another way because the responsibility for what is happening, shifted by Tbilisi on Moscow, forcedly passed to him," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on June 21, imposing a temporary ban on passenger flights with Georgia from July 8, the Kremlin press office reported.
Events in Tbilisi
On June 20, several thousand protesters gathered near the building of the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. Some 305 demonstrators were detained, 240 people were injured, and 55 of them remain in hospitals.
The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On June 20, IAO President Sergei Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue. Media reports claimed that Gavrilov had allegedly participated in combat actions in Abkhazia and Transnistria, although he dismissed this as fake news.
The General Assembly was wrapped up on June 20 and later the Russian parliamentarians flew to Moscow. According to Gavrilov, after the session the delegation members were attacked when they were talking to journalists and threats were voiced against them.
On June 21, Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze tendered his resignation amid protests.