Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili says her country may change its “liberal” visa regime for Russian citizens amid an unprecedented influx sparked by the Kremlin’s mobilization of troops for the war against Ukraine.
Speaking at a joint conference in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, after holding talks with Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu on October 17, Zurabishvili called the arrival of Russian citizens to Georgia in recent weeks “a challenge.”
“I would not call it a threat, but it is a challenge…. I also do not exclude that we will have to revise the visa regime, which currently is liberal and does not correspond to the Russian aggression [against Ukraine]. The issue must be decided by [Georgian] authorities and our society,” Zurabishvili said.
Zurabishvili did not say if visas would be introduced for Russian citizens who choose to enter the South Caucasus country.
Currently, Russians do not need visas to enter Georgia and may stay in the country without for up to 365 days. If they leave Georgia for another country, they can then immediately reenter for another 365 days.
Georgian government officials have said several times that there are no plans to introduce visas for Russian citizens.
Moldovan President Sandu tweeted after talks with Zurabishvili that the two former Soviet republics had “committed to closer cooperation between Moldova and Georgia in the future, and also to working together on the road of the EU integration.”
Zurabishvili added: “Moldova and Georgia both belong in Europe. Our cooperation on this road will make us stronger.”