Ukrainian intelligence: Moscow negotiates trade roots with Tbilisi to avoid sanctions on Russian goods
Ukraine accuses Georgia of negotiating re-export with Russia
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported on May 1 that Russia was negotiating with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to re-export Russian products to the international market.
Georgia responded to this statement on May 2 – Tbilisi demanded an explanation from Ukraine and called the acting ambassador to the Foreign Ministry.
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According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia plans to manufacture products under the guise of Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani brands, and then export them to third countries. According to the intelligence service, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, more than 200 companies have been registered for this purpose in the listed countries.
According to Ukrainian military intelligence, Moscow intends to use the CSTO countries (Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) to produce military products for the Russian army and dual-use products that require imported components. Thus, Russia will increase the economic dependence of these countries on the Kremlin, which has always been in Russia’s interests.
“Russia creates favorable conditions for Russian business companies, primarily in the field of information technology. Since the beginning of the large-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, about 85,000 Russian citizens and 113 IT companies have moved to Armenia. Russian citizens have created up to a thousand private enterprises and more than 250 limited liability companies in Armenia, which will pay taxes to the budgets of two countries – Armenia and Russia”, the intelligence report says.
Georgian Finance Minister Lasha Khutsishvili called the Ukrainian intelligence statement incomprehensible. The minister clarified that Georgia’s position is clear – not to allow the country to become a place to evade sanctions. This applies to both financial and commodity sanctions:
“Naturally, when we talk about the movement of a large number of goods, it is important to explain in detail all the sanctions. This is a single system in the financial sector, the financial sector of Georgia is also connected to this system. The financial sector represented by the National Bank has a solid and reliable regulator, and we do not expect any difficulties in this regard”, said Lasha Khutsishvili.
As for the trade turnover, according to the minister, there is a list of goods subject to sanctions, and errors are also excluded here:
“Consequently, there are no questions on the implementation of these sanctions by our partners. I personally met with many colleagues, regulators, countries that directly imposed sanctions, and they are fully informed about what Georgia is doing”.
Ukrainian intelligence released similar information about Georgia in April. In a statement released on April 4, the intelligence agency said Russia was building a smuggling route through Georgia.
Lasha Khutsishvili says that Georgia requires clarification at the state level, on the basis of which such statements are made.
In connection with this statement, Chargé d’Affaires of Ukraine Andrey Kasyanov was summoned to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has asked the Chargé d’Affaires of Ukraine to provide timely factual clarifications and evidence on the information provided by the intelligence service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense”, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the agency, the Ukrainian diplomat said at a meeting at the Foreign Ministry that he did not have a specific answer to the Ukrainian intelligence statement at this stage and noted that he would send a corresponding message to Kyiv.
The ministry’s statement also says that at the meeting, Deputy Minister Teimuraz Dzhandzhalia once again expressed the dissatisfaction of the Georgian side with statements of this kind.
“The dissemination of information based on unverified facts damages the partnership between the two countries”, the statement said.