In a joint statement issued on the 10th anniversary of "the Russian military aggression against Georgia," the four countries demanded that Russia "fully implement" a 2008 ceasefire agreement and "engage in a constructive manner into the process of Geneva International Discussions (GID)," which were launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2008, to address the consequences of the conflict in Georgia.
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine also urged Russia to "enable access by the European Union Monitoring Mission and the international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia."
The foreign ministers of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and the deputy prime minister of Ukraine were in Georgia on Monday and Tuesday on a visit marking 10 years since Russia’s invasion of that country, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
"We, the representatives of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, have come to Georgia to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Russian military aggression against Georgia and reaffirm our unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders," the four politicians said in the statement.
The joint trip to Tbilisi followed in the footsteps of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński, who in August 2008 organised a visit in support of Georgia.
'Military aggression' and 'ongoing occupation' of sovereign neighbour
“We want to call attention to the first military aggression by a neighbouring country against a sovereign state in Europe’s post-war history and to the ongoing occupation of its territory,” Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz was quoted as saying after a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial to honour President Lech Kaczyński in Tbilisi on Monday.
The two-day visit to the Georgian capital by Czaputowicz, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, Latvia's top diplomat Edgars Rinkēvičs, and Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko included meetings with Georgia’s president, prime minister, parliamentary speaker and foreign minister, in addition to a trip to the administrative boundary line with the separatist region of Tskhinvali/South Ossetia, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz during a press conference in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Tuesday. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
Warning a decade ago
According to former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Poland's Lech Kaczyński was right when he warned the international community over Russia's intentions regarding Georgia as well as Ukraine in 2008.
Lech Kaczyński said at the time, as quoted by Poland's niezalezna.pl website: “Today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, the day after tomorrow the Baltic states, and then, perhaps, the time will come for my country, Poland."
Lech Kaczyński died on April 10, 2010, when a Polish plane carrying him, his wife, and 94 others, mainly political and military top brass, crashed while trying to land at the Smolensk airfield in western Russia. All aboard were killed.
Source: IAR, msz.gov.pl, niezalezna.pl