Russian President Vladimir Putin’s instruction to his government “to normalize ties” with Georgia is an attempt to mislead the international community following Russia’s April 16 decision to establish legal links with breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Davit Bakradze, the Georgian foreign minister, said.
“It is an attempt to soften the international reaction,” he told Rustavi 2 TV on April 18. “By doing this Russia is trying to create an illusion that it is inclined to cooperate with Georgia in order to defuse that very sharp international reaction, which was triggered by the Russian president’s recent instructions [over South Ossetia and Abkhazia]. But I am sure that such steps [by Russia] will not mislead our European and American friends. If someone in the Russian government thinks that it is possible to annex one-third of Georgian territory and simultaneously to improve relations with the remaining two-thirds, it is an extremely incorrect approach. Conflicts and Georgia’s territorial integrity represent a test in Georgian-Russian relations. Without taking relevant steps in this respect, I cannot imagine how the Russian Federation will manage to improve relations with Georgia.”