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Georgia accuses Ukrainian official of plotting coup

Georgia parliament overrides presidential veto, adopts 'foreign influence' law
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Georgia on Monday accused a senior Ukrainian official of plotting to overthrow the Black Sea nation’s government by organising mass unrest, in the blatest episode of escalating tensions between the ex-Soviet countries.

Kyiv said the claim was “untrue” and called it a Georgian attempt to “demonise” the war-torn country.

Tbilisi has been accused of cooperating with the Kremlin even though Russian forces have deployed to separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2008, when Moscow invaded the tiny Caucasus country.

Georgian security services said the deputy chief of Ukraine’s military counterintelligence and Georgia’s former deputy interior minister, Giorgi Lortkipanidze, were plotting “destabilisation aimed at a violent overthrow of the government.”

It said Georgians fighting Russian forces in Ukraine, including a bodyguard of Georgia’s jailed ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili, were among the conspirators being trained near Ukraine’s border with Poland.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for Georgia to release Saakashvili, who is now a Ukrainian national and a top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Kyiv has said that the Georgian authorities are “killing” the ailing politician on Kremlin orders and has demanded his transfer to a clinic abroad.

Georgia in turn has condemned what it said was “an extreme form of escalation in diplomatic relations”.

Georgia’s security service said anti-government protests “are being planned for October and December, when the European Commission is set to publish its decision on Georgia’s EU membership application.”

It said the plot “is being carried out with the coordination and funding from a foreign country.”

Ukraine denied the allegations.

“This information is untrue,” Kyiv’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook.

“The current Georgian authorities are once again trying to demonise Ukraine in order to solve their internal political issues,” it said, adding:

“The Ukrainian state has not interfered, is not interfering and does not plan to interfere in Georgia’s internal affairs.”

The EU recognised Georgia’s “European perspective” last year, but deferred its membership application while granting candidacy to fellow ex-Soviet Ukraine and Moldova.

That has led to mass anti-government protests in Tbilisi, where the government is facing accusations of backsliding on its commitments to democracy and undermining Georgia’s EU membership bid.

Earlier in September, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said “there is still quite a bit of work to be done” by Tbilisi to be granted formal candidate status.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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