Andriy Parubiy, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, delivered a speech at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session on May 29, where he emphasized that Georgia and Ukraine have paid a high price for freedom and both countries went through Russian aggression.
The Chairman recalled Russia’s actions during the Russian-Georgian War of 2008. “In 2008 I was in Georgia and I saw with my own eyes the villages burned down and ruined. I saw the suffering and pain of the Georgian women. At that time Georgian soldiers were dying for their freedom and peaceful civilians were killed by Russian bombs,” the Chairman said in his remarks.
He said that while the Russian attack on Georgia was finally stopped, “the free world did not draw enough conclusions from the actions of the aggressor, and that only encouraged the aggressor, and the killer went on killing,” unleashing the war in Ukraine in 2014.
Parubiy spoke about the results of Russian aggression in his country and stated that Ukraine deals with up to two million IDPs. He mentioned that this is about the same number as that of the migrants who had entered Europe lately, while Ukraine had to tackle this problem while simultaneously fighting a war.
Parubiy also said Putin’s Russia was the main threat for the global security. “When people ask what is Putin’s goal, I normally quote what he said about the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He said that it was the biggest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century, and this says it all. It encapsulates his idea that he seeks to restore the influence that the Kremlin had during the years of the Soviet Union,” added Parubiy.
He stressed that Putin’s Russia can be stopped only by joint and concerted effort. “Russia will stop only where it will be stopped. Currently, there is not a single international organization in the world but NATO, which is up to this task. Only a strong, enlarged and strengthened Euro-Atlantic alliance can do this. There is no alternative to this because the Kremlin is creating new global challenges to the security and not just in Europe, but in other areas of the world,” said Parubiy.
The Chairman also highlighted Russian military build-up on the borders of Europe, and called for continued political pressure and sanctions against Russia. Parubiy said that Ukraine and Georgia were currently on the frontline of the hybrid war, being a stronghold of the free world.
Within the framework of his visit to Tbilisi, Parubiy held meetings with Georgian leaders to discuss bilateral relations with Georgia.
On May 29, Parubiy met with his Georgian counterpart Irakli Kobakhidze. The press office of the Verkhovna Rada reported that the sides had “talks over stepping up and strengthening of the inter-parliamentary bilateral and multilateral cooperation.”
The Chairman said that Ukraine remembered the Georgian patriots, “who made the supreme sacrifice on the Maidan, in eastern Ukraine in the fights for Ukraine’s independence, as they all knew our independence meant Georgia’s independence, and that desire for freedom was and is universal.”
During the meeting with Kobakhidze, Parubiy announced his initiative to establish a tripartite Ukraine-Georgia-Moldova inter-Parliamentary assembly, which, according to the Verkhovna Rada press service, had already been backed by the Georgian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. “This idea was by general consent propped up in the Ukrainian Parliament,” said Parubiy.
During a trilateral meeting with Kobakhidze and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Alli, Parubiy said that “to enter NATO is the point of strategic choice for Ukraine,” and expressed his hope that Ukraine would host one of the future NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s sessions in Kyiv.
As part of the visit, Parubiy also travelled to Khurvaleti, a village adjacent to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia which has been split in two by the Russian barbed wire and thus became a symbol of Russia’s encroachment on the Georgian territory.
Furthermore, Ukrainian Chairman met Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
During the meeting with the Prime Minister, the two discussed regional issues in the context of developing transport corridors, transit destinations as well as trade and economic connections. Among the main issued discussed during Parubiy’s meeting with President Margvelashvili was the state of affairs in the Russian-occupied territories of both countries.