In a recent statement, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, has accused the West of treating Ukraine in the same manner as it treated Georgia in the past. According to Polyansky, both countries have been used as proxies against Russia and ultimately abandoned by their Western allies.
Polyansky took to Twitter on August 8, the anniversary of the 2008 conflict in Georgia, to express his views. He called it a “sad day in Georgian history” and criticized the “bloody mistakes” made by the Saakashvili regime, which he claimed acted as a puppet of the West. Although Saakashvili is now in prison, Polyansky argued that his poisonous legacy is still felt.
Polyansky further criticized the current Ukrainian government, describing their actions as a “far more nefarious mistake.” He expressed disbelief that Kiev believes the West will not abandon them after a potential NATO proxy war with Russia. He accused Washington and its allies of bringing death and devastation to the post-Soviet space in a futile neo-colonial geopolitical crusade against Russia.
Polyansky’s comments draw parallels between the situations in Georgia and Ukraine. In 2003, Mikhail Saakashvili became the president of Georgia with the support of a US-backed revolution. In August 2008, Saakashvili launched an attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, hoping to overpower the Russian peacekeeping battalion stationed there since the 1990s.
The swift reaction from Moscow surprised both Tbilisi and Washington, as Georgia’s Western-trained military was dismantled within five days. Saakashvili eventually lost the 2012 election and sought refuge in the US before relocating to Ukraine following the US-backed coup in Kiev.
Russian President at the time, Dmitry Medvedev, also weighed in on the anniversary of the conflict. In a Telegram post, he acknowledged that Saakashvili had been a proxy of the West and accused them of trying to provoke Russia by stirring up the situation in its immediate vicinity.
According to Medvedev, the US and its allies are currently waging a criminal war against Russia by proxy, just as they did in 2008. He expressed confidence that Russia’s enemies would be crushed, and peace would be achieved on its own terms.
The US and NATO have provided significant support to Ukraine, including over $100 billion worth of weapons, equipment, and ammunition, as well as financial aid to sustain the Ukrainian government. However, they maintain that they are not direct parties to the conflict with Russia.
Earlier this year, modern Western tanks were supplied to the Ukrainian military in anticipation of a spring-summer offensive that would push the Russians back. However, Kiev’s offensive, launched in early June, has made little progress and resulted in significant losses.
According to estimates from the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine has lost 5,000 vehicles and 43,000 soldiers during the conflict. Senior US and Western officials recently indicated to CNN that the Ukrainians are unlikely to make significant advances on the battlefield that could change the balance of the conflict.
Polyansky’s statements highlight the ongoing tensions between Russia and the West, with Ukraine being caught in the middle as a proxy. The similarities between the situations in Georgia and Ukraine raise concerns about the potential consequences for Ukraine if it follows in Georgia’s footsteps.