Ambassador Degnan: I’m delighted to be here in Gori today. I’ve had a chance to visit a number of businesses and schools, and see other projects that the United States has been supporting over the last 30 years of our diplomatic relations with Georgia. It’s wonderful to travel around to places like Shida Kartli and see just how many projects the United States and Georgians have worked on together over the years that have really improved the quality of life for thousands of Georgians. Today, I had a very interesting discussion with students and citizens from here in Gori at the state university, and I’m very pleased to have had a chance to meet with some of the residents here, as well as the officials. So it’s great to be in Shida Kartli. It’s wonderful to be in Gori to be hosted here and feel the warmth and hospitality of people from this region.
Question about Ukrainian allegations of Georgia helping Russia to evade sanctions
Ambassador Degnan: These are very serious allegations and they should be dealt with through appropriate channels, government to government. That is the right way to investigate something like this. The government here has stated that it will not allow Georgia to be used to evade sanctions, and of course, that is the most important thing. I have heard people say, “no one can stop this war.” Mr. Putin started this war and he can stop this war today. It’s a brutal, uncivilized attack on a neighbor, a sovereign nation. Sanctions are designed to pressure him to do that. And unity in the enforcement of sanctions is absolutely critical to keeping the pressure on. That is what makes sanctions such a powerful tool is the unity and enforcement and compliance with sanctions. So, we are monitoring very carefully to see that the sanctions regime stays very tight, a very close net that will keep the pressure on the Kremlin to stop this war.
Question about proving that Georgia is not helping Russia
Ambassador Degnan: I can assure you that this process is not going to be conducted in front of the media. This is a very serious matter. It should be dealt with through appropriate channels, government to government. The only one that’s benefiting by these back and forth attacks is Russia. I strongly urge that this matter be taken into appropriate channels where it can be properly investigated and resolved
Question about U.S. legislation in support of Georgia
Ambassador Degnan: I think this or any other bill that is put forward is just further evidence of how important we consider Georgia to be, how important a friend it is, and how much the United States wants to support Georgia in your efforts to become fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic family. That’s what we want to see happen. And from what I hear from Georgians, that’s what you want to see happen too.