Quid pro quo: Ukrainian “anti-terrorist” soldiers treated in Georgia

The Georgian Defense ministry disclosed that Ukrainian government soldiers “injured in anti-terrorist operations in eastern Ukraine” will be given physical and psychological rehabilitation in Georgia, Ukraine’s fellow NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner on the Black Sea.

The latest of the wounded and traumatized troops arrived at the Tbilisi International Airport and were greeted by officials with the Department of Social Affairs and Psychological Support of the Ministry of Defense.

The “anti-terrorist” service members, trained by NATO nations to wage war against their own compatriots in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, were accompanied by family members and will undergo a two-week treatment regime at the Maro Makashvili Rehabilitation Center in Tserovani.

As the Ukrainian government of then-President Viktor Yushchenko supported the war efforts of his Georgian counterpart at the time (and current bête noire in Ukraine), Mikheil Saakashvili, when he shelled and attacked South Ossetia almost thirteen years ago, and in the process provoked a war with Russia, so Georgia is now repaying the favor. (Georgia was the largest non-NATO contributor of troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Both nations label former parts of their countries, at least during the Soviet period, as “temporarily-occupied territories”; in the case of Ukraine those lands are the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass and Crimea; in Georgia’s case South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The putative occupier in all four instances is Russia.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky met with the heads of state of fellow former Soviet republics Georgia and Moldova, Salome Zourabichvili and Maia Sandu, respectively, in Georgia on July 20 to sign a declaration committing the three nations to integration into the European Union (and NATO, if not acknowledged) under the aegis of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program; that is, the program whose association agreement was rejected by then-President Viktor Yanukovych in late 2013, thereby triggering the subsequent “color revolution,” coup d’état and endless war in the nation. Zelensky’s comments at the signing event included: “We all know what war is. We must do everything to make the demarcation lines disappear forever from the lands of our three countries.” 

Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia have formed a new alliance that is three-quarters of the old GUAM (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova) format established by the U.S. in the 1990s to cordon Russia off from Europe and particularly from the European energy market. A suggested acronym for the truncated version of the latter could be MUG. Azerbaijan, by the way, particularly after the June 16 visit by its president and that of Turkey to territory in Nagorno-Karabakh conquered in last year’s 44-day war which – the visit – resulted in the Shusha Declaration, is in effect part of Turkey and as such NATO.

The Georgian Defense Ministry’s report today on the latest batch of “anti-terrorist” members of the NATO proxy force that is the Ukrainian army, revealed that the bilateral arrangement – Ukraine may well return the favor soon – is a result of a memorandum of understanding signed by the two advanced NATO partners for “the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian servicemen participating in anti-terrorist operations in eastern Ukraine.” Ukrainian soldiers have been treated in Georgia since 2015, the year after the government in Kiev launched the ongoing war in the Donbass.