President Mikheil Saakashvili said on January 22 that explosion of two gas pipelines was a “heavy sabotage” against Georgia “by the Russian Federation” and described Moscow as “an unprincipled blackmailer.”
Gas supply to Georgia was halted as a result of blasts which occurred on two pipelines in North Ossetia on Sunday.
“Three major energy arteries have been cut off: high-voltage power line Kavkasioni [delivering electricity from Russia] has been exploded this morning. Sabotage has damaged two gas pipelines in Russia… Georgia is experiencing a heavy sabotage by the Russian Federation,” Saakashvili said on Sunday in his televised address to the nation.
He said that Russian officials’ response and explanations to the current situation are “absolutely unsatisfactory and contradictory.”
“Russia has doubled gas price for Georgia – decision which lacks any market logic. We have to deal with an unprincipled blackmailer, I can not call it [Russia] otherwise,” Saakashvili said.
“Georgia is constantly experiencing pressure from Russia,” he said.
“Threats like these were heard from the Russian politicians: you will be left without heat, without electricity… And this happened when there is the coldest winter in Georgia,” Saakashvili added.
He said that against the background of persisting blackmail Russia has demanded from Georgia to sell its trunk gas pipeline.
“We are ready to consider any kind of commercial proposal, but we will not do anything in case of blackmail,” Saakashvili said.
“Those in the Kremlin should understand that they will fail to achieve something with blackmail,” he added.
Saakashvili also said that he has ordered to halt courses in the schools and high education centers before restoration of gas supply.