TBILISI, July 6. /TASS/. Russia is not an invader, but it supports the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which will never be part of Georgia again, Russian senior lawmaker Pyotr Tolstoy said in an interview with the Georgian television broadcasting company Rustavi-2.
"Russia has not invaded your territory. When your so-called president [Salome Zurabishvili] writes on a social network that Russia is an enemy and an occupier, can you imagine any talks about normal relations? Abkhazia and South Ossetia will never be part of Georgia again. Remember that very well. They will never be your regions again," said Tolstoy, who heads the Russian delegation at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
"Russia will be supporting their independence. Tell those who are running with anti-Russian slogans around Tbilisi that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will never return to Georgia. This will never happen," he said commenting on a series of rallies ongoing in Tbilisi since June 20.
On June 20, several thousand protesters amassed near the national parliament in downtown Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm it. The protests were sparked by an uproar over the Russian 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 and tried to storm the parliament under anti-Russian slogans.
On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree imposing a temporary ban on flights, including commercial ones, from Russia to Georgia starting July 8. On June 22, Russia’s Transport Ministry announced that starting from July 8, flights by Georgian airlines to Russia would be halted.