War in Ukraine may lead to split in relations between Kyiv and Tbilisi

Ukraine Demonstrators hold placards and wave flags during a rally in support of Ukraine in Tbilisi, Georgia, on March 1, 2022. VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

On January 21 Oleksiy Arestovych, now-former advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, announced that there are no guarantees of Ukraine's victory in the war with Russia. Speaking in an interview with political analyst Yuri Romanenko, Arestovich said that “if everyone thinks that we are guaranteed to win the war, it seems very unlikely. Since the 14th, it has ceased to be similar”.

The recent lack of high-profile victories for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the transition of hostilities to a sluggish phase, had a negative impact on the morale of not only Ukrainian soldiers, but also the Georgian legionnaires fighting on their side.

Against this background, disagreements on ethnic, social and domestic grounds intensified between the volunteers from Georgia and the Ukrainian soldiers. Such everyday misunderstanding often develops into serious conflicts.

So, at the end of last year, Georgian and Canadian mercenaries entered into a skirmish with fighters of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Stelmakhivka (Kolomyychykha community, Svatove district, Lugansk region). The conflict escalated into a mass brawl. Foreign fighters even fired at the positions of Ukrainian soldiers with mortars. The exact number of victims is still unknown. However, according to Telegram channels, at least seven fighters from both sides were injured.

Another, not less resonant conflict between Ukrainian servicemen and foreign fighters occurred weeks earlier. The Ukrainian soldiers expressed their dissatisfaction with the words of the authoritative field commander from Georgia Vano Nadiradze, who in one of his statements recommended his Georgian compatriots "to fight behind the backs of the Ukrainians and act in the second line of attack."

According to him, the fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine must demine the area with their bodies after the snow falls. “I am addressing the Georgian soldiers in Ukraine. Always move being in the second number, the Ukrainians should go first.

In winter, you can not see the stretch marksbooby traps that will be installed by the enemy on white fishing lines. In addition, the PFM-1 “Lepestok” will become a problem, which, with its small size, will be covered with a layer of snow in ten minutes,” Nadiradze wrote on social networks.

Such an increase in negative emotions in relations between Georgians and Ukrainians is very significant. People of completely different cultures, critically different mentality, who have almost nothing in common, were united only by their hatred of Russia.

However, as it is known, problematic abscesses in relations between peoples tend to come out sooner or later. And now, in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, which has already entered its second calendar year, it becomes clear that Georgian-Ukrainian friendship does not stand the test of time.

And the longer the hostilities drag on, the higher the risk that such incidents will develop into a break in relations between Kyiv and Tbilisi at the interstate level.

Kemran Mamedov is a Moscow-based Azerbaijiani journalist born in Georgia with a focus on South Caucasus issues.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024