Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili said protests against the entry of the Astoria Grande cruise ship in Batumi that carried Russian citizens in a cruise were a “deliberate provocation” and “harmful” to the domestic economy.
Darchiashvili said there should be “no difference” between visitors to the country arriving by sea or air, in reference to flights being operated between Russia and Georgia.
In his press comments, he said the protests - which involved domestic opposition, civil society groups and ordinary citizens - aimed at “hampering the tourism sector” and “sparking an unrest” in the country.
"Our country is developing economically, tourism is developing, and it is incomprehensible to express this type of aggression to a specific people”, Darchiashvili stressed.
He highlighted his Government had acted in “full compliance” with international sanctions, and said “not a single case” of Georgia’s territory or institutions being used for their circumvention had been revealed so far.
"Thus, the protests serve the only goal of hampering the tourism development. I urge everyone to refrain from such actions”, he added.