Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said he is “very glad” that Georgian athletes are participating in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which, he said, helps to build ties with Tbilisi.
“I think that it’s a very good sign and that’s exactly the case when the Olympic Games contribute to building relations even where it seemed impossible or very difficult,” he told journalists while touring Olympic Games media center in Sochi on February 10.
He said that direct flights between Tbilisi and Sochi started just ahead of the Olympics.
“We have decided to keep this practice after the Olympics as well,” Putin said. “That’s already a plus of the Olympic Games.”
“The Olympic Games help to build ties with Georgia and I am very glad about it and we wish success to the Georgian athletes,” Putin said, adding that the Georgian athletes perform well in Summer Olympic Games, especially in his favorite judo and wished Georgia success in the Winter Olympics as well.
His remarks were made in response to a question from a Georgian journalist, who asked about “clouded” parts of Abkhazia on Georgian map during the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games. The satellite zoom in on Georgia’s map, projected on arena floor while Georgian athletes were parading, showed parts of Abkhazia covered by what appeared to be clouds; some in Georgia complained it was done deliberately to portray Georgian map without its breakaway region.
“That’s nonsense,” Putin responded. “There is no need of stirring up something out of nothing.”
Asked if he would meet the Georgian President, Putin responded: “Yes, if he wants; why not.”