Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and Georgian Chief of General Staff Vladimer Chachibaia overlooking the Administrative Boundary Line in Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, June 6, 2017. Photo: mil.gov.ua
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak met with his Georgian colleague Levan Izoria on June 7 - the second day of his visit to Georgia.
According to the Georgian Defense Ministry, the two ministers spoke on the military-political cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine, including joint participation in upcoming multilateral military exercises planned in both countries.
Georgian Defense Minister invited the Ukrainian side to send a representative to the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) to exchange experience, as well as to send Ukrainian officers to the NATO-Georgia command staff exercises planned to be held at the JTEC in 2019. Izoria also invited Poltorak at the annual defense and security conference and the South-Eastern Europe defense ministers’ summit to be held in Georgia in October 2017.
Speaking on the Ukrainian-Georgian relations at a press briefing after the meeting, Levan Izoria said Georgia and Ukraine face “common challenges” and added that the two countries “need to have a high degree of cooperation to overcome these challenges together.”
Minister Izoria added that Georgia was concerned by the situation in the eastern Ukraine, expressing hope for its peaceful resolution. He also voiced his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while thanking Ukraine for giving the same kind of support to Georgia.
Izoria highlighted that the two nations share NATO membership aspirations and noted that “one of the objectives will be to increase our participation in multinational exercises, including under the auspices of NATO.” In the words of the Defense Minister, Ukraine and Georgia “have a very good experience of joint exercises at the Mountain Training School, which will be increased further.”
He then added that the United States is working on “an important infrastructure in both Georgia and Ukraine that would help improve our combat readiness.” “We will, of course, share our experience with each other in this field as well and use the infrastructure for joint exercises together with our strategic partners.”
Later on June 7, Poltorak held meetings with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili, where the sides discussed defense cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine. On June 7, Poltorak also visited the Giorgi Antsukhelidze Sergeants Training Center, where he met Vladimer Chachibaia, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Georgia.
A day earlier, on June 6, Poltorak travelled to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) close to Akhalgori district of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia together with Chachibaia. “[The occupants] have come to a foreign land, where they will never be the legitimate masters,”the Ukrainian Defense Minister commented during his visit.
Also on June 6, Poltorak visited the Tserovani rehabilitation center, where Ukrainian fighters wounded during the war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine are undergoing treatment.