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Has Georgia found a substitute for Ukraine?2009-07-21 23:26
The Georgian party keeps insisting upon the fact that Kiev's procurement of arms to Tbilisi are quite legal. Alongside with that, Georgia believes that nothing terrible is going to happen should Ukraine for some reason give up the military and technical cooperation. What are the grounds for such confidence?
"There is not a single document proving the existence of embargo on arms procurement to Georgia", - the Delo Ukranian newspaper is quoting the declamation of Georgia's ambassador to Ukraine Grigol Katamadze. - That is why we are free to buy it without any limitation. Now, if we are talking about the future cooperation with Ukraine, things depend on whether Kiev decides to continue working with us". According to Katamadze, Tbilisi is not currently sure whether Kiev is going to continue to supply arms. "Still, I see no tragedy should Ukraine for some reason give up its cooperation with Georgia in the military-technical field, which, by the way, can be characterized as mutually beneficial", - the ambassador summed up.
Grigol Katamadze has boggled at least twice. The first time was when he spoke of a document imposing an embargo upon arms procurement to the country, which carried out an offensive operation against Tskhinval less than a year ago. As is known, at the beginning of the year, President Dmitri Medvedev signed a Decree on Measures against the supply of defensive and double-purpose products to Georgia. According to this decree, any supply, selling or transfer of defensive products from the territory of RF to Georgia is prohibited until 1 December 2011; besides, the decree implies various economic sanctions in respect of any foreign countries, organizations and citizens that will supply such products to Georgia. Moreover, the Russian delegation submitted to UN a relevant resolution on imposing an international embargo on arms procurement to Georgia.
Secondly, Mr. Katamadze seemed to overestimate the benefit of military cooperation between Tbilisi and Kiev. As head of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada Deputy Investigation Committee for Arms Procurement to Georgia Valeri Kovalyuk reported in June to the Izvestia newspaper, Tbilisi's debt for the arms supplied to Ukraine has already reached two hundred million dollars. According to him, the four-year arms supply amounted to two and a half billion dollars - such a generous gift, indeed! "Today, Ukraine is the main arms supplier to Georgia, - Konovalyuk said. - Supplies to Georgia are realized due to rearmament of the Ukrainian army; almost new weapon systems are sold for nothing".
Naturally, all this has got its impact on Ukraine's defensive capacity.