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Tuesday, July 09, 2019, 21:40
Putin says he does not want to impose sanctions on Georgia
By Reuters
Tuesday, July 09, 2019, 21:40 By Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to receive credentials from newly appointed foreign ambassadors to Russia in Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, July 3, 2019. (Maxim Shipenkov / Pool Photo / AP)

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said in televised comments on Tuesday that he did not support a parliamentary call to impose tough economic sanctions on Georgia.    

The Russian parliament unanimously backed a resolution earlier on Tuesday urging the government to draw up sanctions against Georgia, a move that would sharply escalate a political crisis between the neighbors.    

I would not impose anything that could complicate our relations for the sake of restoring full ties

Vladimir Putin, Russia President 

"I would not impose anything that could complicate our relations for the sake of restoring full ties," Putin said in comments broadcast on state television.

The sanctions proposed by the parliament would ban imports of Georgian wine and mineral water and halt financial remittances back home by Georgians working in Russia among a suite of measures that could badly hurt Georgia's economy. 

Moscow in recent weeks has complained about anti-Kremlin protests in Georgia and on Monday condemned an obscenity-laden tirade against President Vladimir Putin on a Georgian TV station which it blamed on radical political forces. 

Relations came under strain two weeks ago when protests erupted in Tbilisi over a visit by a Russian lawmaker with many demonstrators saying they were angry about the continued presence of Russian troops on Georgian soil. 

READ MORE: Putin bans Russian passenger flights to Georgia amid tensions

The small nation, an ally of the United States, fought and lost a short war against Russia in 2008. 

The countries have not had diplomatic ties since, and Russia went on to recognize the independence of two breakaway Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Russian troops are now garrisoned. 

Citing risks to its citizens, the Kremlin has responded to recent events by suspending passenger flights, a move that threatens to hurt Georgia's tourist industry since over 1 million Russians visit each year. 

ALSO READ: Ukraine to end friendship treaty with Russia

Georgian's President Salome Zurabishvili urged Russia not to further aggravate the situation by imposing sanctions. 

"It would be a paradox if a neighboring state responds to the actions of those they consider to be radical forces by contributing to the realization of their destructive goals," Zurabishvili said in a statement.

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