Russia still ‘occupies 20% of our territory': Georgian president

Russia still ‘occupies 20% of our territory': Georgian president

Georgia will stick to its EU path, peacefully reclaim territorial integrity, says Salome Zourabichvili

By Davit Kachkachishvili

TBILISI, Georgia (AA) – Marking the 15th anniversary of the Russo-Georgian War, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said Russia continued to "occupy" 20% of the country's territory "in violation of all international principles."

"Russia is an aggressor and an occupier! 15 years after the 2008 war, it still occupies 20% of our territory violating all int principles," Zourabichvili said in a statement on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.

Zourabichvili further said that Georgia will stick to its path to EU accession, in addition to "peacefully reclaim territorial integrity."

Separately, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said during a wreath-laying ceremony near the capital Tbilisi that their main struggle is to "end the occupation," expressing that it is possible to restore Georgia's territorial integrity through peaceful means.

"Friends, there is no alternative to peace. We must take our lands back in peace with our correct, smart, and pragmatic policy. I believe in this wholeheartedly. We are getting closer to this great goal every day," Garibashvili further said.

In 2008, a five-day conflict referred to as the South Ossetia conflict broke out between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Tbilisi ultimately lost control of both areas and Russia later recognized them as independent states.

In response, Georgia cut off diplomatic relations with Russia, after which Switzerland took up the role of mediator country.

Both regions remain internationally recognized Georgian territories.

*Writing by Burc Eruygur in Istanbul

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