Russia has been beefing up its border forces with Georgia ever since Tbilisi felt strong enough to acquire “candidate EU membership” status, as it did with Ukraine. Today, Georgia is Moscow’s “first target” after Ukraine: Azerbaijan’s oil and gas pipelines to Turkey and then the EU pass through Georgia.
The targeting of Georgia is not accidental and Tbilisi seems to have forgotten what happened in 2008. Azerbaijan and the Southern Natural Gas Corridor depend on Georgia. Because the following pipelines pass or will pass through Georgia:
- Baku-Tbilisi-Ezerum (BTE),
- Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey,
- The Greek-Bulgarian pipeline IGB,
- The future Trans-Caspian which will further connect to both TANAP and TAP.
At the same time, another country that the US and the EU consider to be able to provide hydrocarbons to the West, is Kazakhstan, the largest oil producer in Central Asia, and an important supplier of natural gas, right after Russia and Turkmenistan. More than 250 oil and gas fields are operated in Kazakhstan by 104 companies, including Western energy giants such as Chevron, Total, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.
Most of Kazakhstan’s oil exports to the EU go through Russia via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). The EU realizes what will happen if this pipeline is blocked and for this reason they are planning another new Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor which will pass through: Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey.
Why does Russia want to attack Georgia again?
Georgia is the “link” of the hydrocarbon fields of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan with Europe. And it is reasonable for them to believe in Russia that Kazakhstan will also stop having “worries” once tiny Georgia follows the fate of Ukraine. And then Russia will control all the flow of oil and natural gas of the Caspian and Central Asia.
The Azerbaijan-Georgia pipeline operates without interruption in all sections including the section passing through the territory of South Ossetia. Russia with a move in Georgia closes almost three plus two EU pipelines causing chaos and energy blackout.
Even the creation of the Russia-India trade corridor, through the Caspian and Iran, as well as the agreement for investments of 40 billion dollars by Gazprom in the Iranian energy sector, are plans that go through the neutralization of Georgia as an anti-Russian factor in the Caucasus.
The treatment of Georgian mercenaries in Ukraine by the Russians, after the latter’s war crimes against Russian prisoners during the conflicts in Kyiv, shows what is to come: Their surrenders were not accepted. Those who did not die in the battle, died after it.