Russian Parliament Calls for Sanctions on Georgia, Amid Heightened Tensions

Russian lawmakers voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of a resolution calling for sanctions against Georgia, amid increased tension between the neighboring nations.Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, recommended that Moscow levy sanctions over Georgia’s “unfriendly” actions.Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said the lawmaking body wanted a ban on Georgian wine and mineral water in Russia, as well as a stop to money flowing from Russia to Georgia.Relations between the two nations have strained in recent weeks. In late June, protests turned violent between activists and police following a speech a Russian lawmaker delivered in Georgia’s legislature, sitting in the chair reserved for the parliamentary speaker.On Sunday, relations worsened after a Georgian television host gave a profane monologue critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin on live television.”We consider the insults to our country, threats to our citizens and insults to our president inadmissible,” Volodin was quoted saying on the Duma’s website.Tensions between the two nations go back over a decade.In 2008, Georgia and Russia fought a war that claimed hundreds of lives, and resulted in the de-facto occupation of two Georgian regions by Russia. Since the conflict, the two nations have not had diplomatic ties.On Monday, a Russian ban on direct flights took effect, hurting Georgia’s tourism industry.Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili urged Moscow to reconsider pursuing sanctions.
“It would be a paradox if a neighboring state responds to the actions of those they consider to be radical forces by contributing to the realization of their destructive goals,”  Zurabishvili said in a statement.According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the government has not yet made a judgement on sanctions, though he accused Georgian leaders of being complicit in “anti-Russian hysteria.”“…Such crude attacks are nothing more than the result of the appeasement of those who have fueled and continue to fuel anti-Russian hysteria,” said Peskov. 

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