Question about the trip
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very happy to be back in Telavi again. I was here six months or a year ago. Of course, all of our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Ukraine at this tragic time. It’s also an important time to show our support for each other, and the United States remains very committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty through the partnerships we have with so many cities like Telavi and throughout Georgia. I was here to see our new American corner that was expanded. This is a partnership with the municipality, in Telavi to make our American corner–which is one of our first American corners in Georgia–even bigger and better than before. And it’s a wonderful occasion to just to see that in the students who are here. I’ve also had a chance to meet with the Sakrebulo members and to talk with the regional court justices who are doing very impressive work here, and to meet with the mayor and the governor, as well as some of the students from Telavi. So it’s been a very good trip in the middle of a very difficult time for all of us.
Question on U/S Nuland’s call to work with host governments to sanction Russian businesses, and on Russians coming to Georgia to start businesses
Ambassador Degnan: I don’t have specific information about the Russian businesses, so I’m not really in a position to answer that. I think it’s important to get accurate information right now on all of these issues. The most important thing is to come together, and I think that is also what Under Secretary Nuland was saying: all of our countries need to come together and show our support for Ukraine in every way possible. Georgia has been very outspoken in multi-lateral forums the UN, Council of Europe, and OSCE. The people of Georgia have been overwhelming in their generosity toward the people of Ukraine because you know what it is like to be at war and to be attacked for no reason, just because you want to be free. So, I think really the emphasis needs to be on unity in a country that has suffered so much polarization, such as Georgia over the last few years. This is the time, this is the reason to come together. I feel it in the meetings that I’ve had today that people–their hearts and their prayers are with the Ukrainian people. And I hope that means that Georgians will come together as a country and stand firmly behind Ukraine at its moment of need. Thank you.