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Georgia: Presidential Visit Highlights Hopes, Challenges of Ties With Ukraine

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili (right) speaks informally with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko during the latter’s visit to Tbilisi. While the two countries largely share a common agenda, neither has articulated what cooperation would look like. (Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

Petro Poroshenko made his first visit to Georgia as Ukraine’s president, as ties between the two countries – spoiled in recent years by a feud over former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili – now have new momentum following Saakashvili’s exit from Ukrainian politics.
 
The visit, from July 17-19, allowed the two sides to highlight their many common interests, starting from the fact that Russia-backed unrecognized states occupy part of each of their territories. “We have a common aggressor – both Ukraine and Georgia – this is the Russian Federation,” Poroshenko said during a visit – by now a ritual among visitors to Tbilisi – to the fence that Russian forces have erected around the de facto borders of South Ossetia, one of the unrecognized territories in Georgia.
 
“We share great strength,” added his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Margvelashvili, who accompanied Poroshenko. “These barbed wires will be demolished; our states will be as united, sovereign and independent, as all states in the world, except Russia, recognize.”
 

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Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at EurasiaNet.org, and author of The Bug Pit. He is based in Istanbul.

Georgia: Presidential Visit Highlights Hopes, Challenges of Ties With Ukraine

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