Since the 2022 Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Georgian authorities, who have maintained ties with Moscow, have faced the country’s biggest street protests in a decade and deteriorating relations with Western partners. Georgia officially still seeks to join the EU but has a poor record on the domestic reforms required. Meanwhile, although the situation is overall comparatively stable, occasional incidents continue in and along the lines of separation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Many of these incidents involve Russian troops, which maintain a presence in these two breakaway regions that Moscow recognised as independent in the wake of its war against Georgia in 2008. Crisis Group closely monitors developments in the Georgian conflict zones and provides recommendations for sustaining diplomacy, keeping the existing negotiation format functioning, shaping long-term policies to support reconciliation and increasing stability. 


CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

European Commission recommended Georgia be granted long-awaited candidate status; Russian border guards killed Georgian civilian in breakaway South Ossetia.

European Commission recommended EU candidacy status for Georgia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen 8 Nov announced that “Commission recommends that the (European) Council grants Georgia the status of a candidate country on the understanding that certain reforms steps are taken”; European Council will take formal decision in Dec 2023. Both PM Garibashvili and President Zourabichvili welcomed decision as thousands took to streets of capital Tbilisi to voice support for EU membership. Head of EU Delegation to Georgia, Paweł Herczyński, same day congratulated country but noted that candidate status is contingent on “fulfilling important steps”, including need to align Georgia’s foreign policy on Russia with EU.

Russian border guards killed Georgian civilian in South Ossetia. Russian troops 6 Nov shot dead Georgian civilian Tamaz Ginturi and detained another near line that separates breakaway South Ossetia from Georgia proper; de facto South Ossetian officials next day published statement claiming civilians had “illegally crossed” into breakaway region, “displayed an extreme level of aggression” and that Ginturi was killed “during the measures taken to detain the violators”. EU Monitoring Mission 6 Nov assembled officials from Georgia, Russia and breakaway South Ossetia, next day announced increased presence along separation line; de facto officials 9 Nov released second civilian.

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