“There’s some very encouraging news that the Georgian customs authorities are taking real steps to restrict the most battlefield-relevant items from being transshipped to Russia,” said Ambassador James O’Brien, Head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the US Department of State at the hearing in the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen asked Ambassador James O’Brien to provide an update on Georgia’s implementation of sanctions on Russia based on his recent visit to Tbilisi.
“I was in Tbilisi along with my EU and UK counterparts. So, we presented a united front. I think there’s some very encouraging news that the Georgian customs authorities are taking real steps to restrict the most battlefield-relevant items from being transshipped to Russia. What we want to do, is make sure that they have complete control over movements across the Georgian border, whether it is by airfields or by the road border.
So, that’s continuing work. There’s a lot of assistance being provided to that, but they’ve been good partners at being transparent about what they see. The question now is, can we get better data going forward, and can we have a clear eye on what’s happening with the air flights that have resumed recently between Georgia and Russia,” he said.
Jeanne Shaheen got interested if the resumption of Russia-Georgia direct flights was concerning as “providing an ability to evade sanctions.”
“I wouldn’t say concerned, but it’s clearly a possibility. So we want to make sure we know what is going on those planes on our way back to Russia,” he said.
EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan, Head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the US State Department, Ambassador James O’Brien, and Director General, Economics, Science and Technology at the UK Foreign Office, Kumar Iyer, visited Georgia on June 27.