16 Aug 2022 17:54

Georgian Interior Ministry denies allegations of massive influx of Russians

TBILISI. Aug 16 (Interfax) - The Georgian Interior Ministry has cited statistical data to deny the opposition's allegations that numerous Russian citizens have been granted asylum or humanitarian status in Georgia over the past few months.

The 441 foreign citizens who applied for asylum in Georgia in the second quarter of 2022 included 242 Ukrainians and only 34 Russians, it said.

Georgia granted humanitarian status to 201 foreigners in this period, among them 185 Ukrainians and no Russians, it said.

Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling party Georgian Dream, said slightly more than 110,000 Russians are currently staying in Georgia as visitors, and most of them are ethnic Georgians.

"We are categorically opposed to the radical opposition's demands that visa travel be introduced for Russian citizens, as this would be a manifestation of xenophobia and chauvinism," Kobakhidze told journalists.

Russian citizens can stay in Georgia without visas for up to one year.