Kremlin Tells US to Mind Own Sanctions before Criticizing Russia's Travel Ban on Georgia

The Kremlin reminded the United States of their sanctions against Russia, when the latter criticized Moscow for imposing an embargo on flights with Tbilisi.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement in response to the United States Chargé d'Affaires in Georgia, Elizabeth Rood, who called the steps taken by the Russian leadership in connection with Georgia “unjust, unnecessary and disproportionate.”

"The measures that Russia has taken recently when cancelling flights to Georgia, as well as calling on their citizens not to visit Georgia, were unfair, unnecessary and disproportionate,” she said.

Moreover, the US Chargé d'Affaires also called on Russia to fulfill the obligations taken under the 2008 ceasefire agreement and allow humanitarian aid into the occupied territories of Georgia.

Elizabeth Rood also responded to the statement of Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy, who said that the breakaway regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia [Tskhinvali], will never become part of Georgia again.

Tolstoy made the statement in an interview with the Georgian TV company Rustavi 2. According to him, Russia has not occupied the mentioned regions, and is instead “supporting their independence.”

In response, Rood said breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia are an integral part of Georgia.

“Maybe the members of the Russian Duma say so, but we believe that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are an integral part of Georgia and the US firmly supports Georgia's territorial integrity,” she stated.

The Russian MFA wrote on Facebook that they “would like to remind Ms. Rood of what such ‘unfair, unnecessary and disproportionate’ measures are like.

“A wide range of countries carrying out their independent foreign policies have fallen victim to this policy of the United States (a state which has been brandishing ‘a restrictions baton’ for decades),” they said.

The Ministry highlighted that US sanctions have been in effect against Russia uninterruptedly "since at least 1974" when the Jackson-Vanik amendment became law. The amendment linked the trade benefits between the two countries to free emigration from the Soviet Union.

"It is evident that over the past 50 years, Russia has been viewed by the US establishment as an unfriendly state," the statement reads.

Moscow also noted that, to date, the number of US "sanctions wars" against Russia total 65.

"Instead of mentor rhetoric about the Russian measures, which protect the lives and health of Russian citizens abroad, we would like to hear from Ms. Rood about ‘the fair, necessary and proportionate’ US restrictive measures that have been imposed over decades to exert pressure on our country’s foreign policy," they stressed.

On June 21, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning Russian airlines from flying to Georgia from July 8 in response to anti-Moscow rallies in Tbilisi.

The Kremlin claimed the ban was to "ensure Russia's national security and protect Russian nationals from criminal and other unlawful activities” after large-scale rallies were launched in Georgia following the arrival of Duma MPs in the Tbilisi Parliament on June 20.

As Russian tourists amount to 25% of the Georgian tourism market, it is believed the country will suffer around a $700 million loss.

In support of Georgia, like many other members of the diplomatic corps in Georgia and abroad, the US Chargé d'Affaires called on people to visit Georgia and spend their summer there.

"I love most the natural beauty of Georgia. Georgia’s breathtaking landscapes are matched only by the richness of its history and culture and the hospitality of the Georgian people. Come spend your summer in Georgia and see for yourself!" reads her statement.

By Thea Morison

Image source: Russian Foreign Ministry. Source:

08 July 2019 17:53