The Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) accused Tbilisi of staging an “informational provocation” ahead of the meeting of Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative, in Prague on July 7.
“Propaganda hoaxes that are fabricated in such cases are very similar,” the Ministry said in its July 5 comment, referring to the statements of Tbilisi that Russian FSB troops advanced few hundred meters deeper into the Tbilisi-controlled territory in the area of Bershueti village, Gori District.
“We have no doubt that the discussion of this matter at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IMPR) will clearly show the falsehood of these absurd claims, like in previous cases,” the statement reads, adding that “the opponents of the Russian-Georgian normalization will not manage to hamper holding of a constructive meeting in Prague.”
The Ministry said that representatives of transport agencies of the two countries would also be present in Prague, and that “the sides will exchange opinions about the very relevant issue of implementing the 2011 agreement on the mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of regional trade.”
The Foreign Ministry added that “there is a real opportunity to sign the contract in the near future,” and that the Russian side hoped Tbilisi would “present explanations on the customs processing of cargo on Georgian territory, which Russia requested long time ago.”
Zurab Abashidze himself, commenting on the Russian advances, which resulted in a loss of land by a local Georgian farmer, characterized it as “inhumane behavior,” adding that “the people should not behave like that, and that’s exactly what I will tell my Russian counterpart during the meeting.”