Cruise Ship With Russian Guests In Georgia Met With Protests From Locals

A cruise vessel with Russia’s passengers docked in Batumi, Georgia, was reportedly met with jeers from the locals who had been protesting the war in Ukraine and the other disputed Russia-occupied territories. The cruise vessel, Astoria Grande, was met with a huge protesting crowd when it was docked at the Georgian port in Batumi on Thursday and Monday, per media reports, including Georgia Today.

On 27 July, the vessel was compelled to leave Batumi earlier than planned after the protests broke out, Radio Free Europe and Meduza informed. The original departure schedule of the vessel needs to be clarified. Videos on Twitter capture the chaotic scenarios of protesters in Georgia desperately heckling the cruise vessel after it reached the second time in five days.

Helen Khoshtaria, a Twitter user and human rights activist, published a video on Monday that received over 39,000 views: The protest in Batumi has gone on for about the 20th hour now, with more individuals joining. It is expected to stop when the Russian cruise vessel leaves, earlier than planned. A local media outlet named Formula News published a video of protesters on Monday: Protesters reportedly condemn the reaching of Russia’s cruise vessel carrying pop stars and journalists supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Batumi, the Georgian port city.

The cruise’s Turkey-based operator, Miray Cruises, informed a Russian media outlet named RBC that it had no stops for Batumi. Insider, however, needed help to verify the vessel’s docking schedule. In response to Thursday’s protests, President Salome Zourabichvili of Georgia expressed his pride in their people protesting the most recent provocation from Russia. This Russian cruise liner was visiting the port of Batumi as Putin blocked grain shipments and hindered free navigation in the Black Sea.

Zourabichvili indicated Russia’s axing of the UN-brokered Black Sea grain agreement that ended on 17 July. The same deal earlier permitted food to be transported from Ukraine’s ports despite Russia’s blockade. A March survey by the International Republican Institute discovered that Georgians were sharply opposed to Russia’s foreign policy. Only about 4% of the Georgians surveyed mentioned that Russians were welcome in the country after the invasion of Ukraine, and 76% said that Russia’s aggression against Georgia was still going on.

The Republic of Georgia exited the Soviet Union in 1991 and has been deeply involved in a frozen conflict with pro-Russian forces regarding disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, culminating in the Russian occupation of a significant part of the Georgian territory back in 2008, per the BBC. On Tuesday, the Georgian internal-affairs ministry reported to Insider that 23 individuals had been arrested during protests.

Reference: Business Insider, Yahoo, BBC

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