Jeanne Shaheen: We need to seriously consider NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia - both want to join, which would be devastating for Putin’s plans

Russia’s first play to subvert democracy in Eastern Europe started with the Republic of Georgia, - writes US Senator Jeanne Shaheen in her article published on USA Today.

The senator recalls her visit to Georgia and writes that during her visit she saw an "administrative border line" demarcating part of the 20% of Georgia occupied by Russia and its local proxies.

According to the Senator, the occupation forces are trying to intimidate Georgians by occasionally moving the fence marking the line and hindering movement of Georgian citizens across the line, preventing access to essential services.

"Belarus is on the forefront of our minds, and Ukraine still retains broad bipartisan support in Washington. But it’s worth noting that Russia’s first play to subvert democracy in Eastern Europe started with the Republic of Georgia, where I also visited. I saw the “administrative boundary line” demarcating part of the 20% of Georgia occupied by Russia and its local proxies. Here, Russian forces try to intimidate Georgians by occasionally moving the fence marking the line and hindering movement of Georgian citizens across the line, preventing access to essential services.

The Russians also hinder the activities of the European Union’s monitoring mission, and engage in disinformation campaigns designed to disrupt Georgia’s democracy in ways Americans know all too well from our elections.

First, we need to seriously consider NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, or at least provide a clear path for entry. Both want to join, which would be devastating for Putin’s plans. Since its inception, NATO has been open to countries who make the sovereign decision to join, and approved unanimously, and it should not be any different now. Reforms are required to ensure the alliance would be gaining strong allies, but failure to act would deliver a victory for Putin.

We need to enhance our military and diplomatic presence in the region. We need a qualified ambassador in Kyiv as soon as possible. Promoting business and investment ties with Ukraine and Georgia would benefit both our countries, as well", - reads the article.

Dr. Khatuna Burkadze – The implementation of the April 19th Agreement will assist Georgia to achieve its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations
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