Thank you very much. I really appreciate your kind words.
I fully agree with the assumption that, not formally yet, we are allies. We were side by side in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also mentioned in my presentation that Canadian and Georgian soldiers, officers and military, were fighting shoulder to shoulder there.
In a sense, this example that you gave now also shows interconnection. It's about the small Georgia there on the eastern flank of Europe and about Canada here. Also, it's kind of a continuation of our liberation that the distinguished member of the committee raised: questions about Russia and sometimes kinds of sentiments on why there are so many anti-Russian approaches. First, I'd like to stress that, when we are talking about Russia, we are not talking about Russian people.
Personally, I already mentioned that I have 30 years of diplomatic service, being part of Russia and Georgia negotiations back in 1995, when Shevardnadze was the president of Georgia. He was a guy who was for balancing the issues, and he knew Russian politics. Then at the end of his career, he admitted that he knew nothing about Russia.
The issues that we are talking about are the regime, the Kremlin and the politics that they're implementing, not about the ordinary Russians. Honestly, we can see that the Russian people are the same kinds of victims of the aggressive politics of Russia, the same as the Ukrainians and Georgians.
As to your question about paying the price, once again we don't want the Russian people to pay a price for that. However, at the same time when we are talking about these conflicts that we have, I agree with my dear colleague Ala about the assumption. Still, consider that they are not frozen conflicts. They're hard conflicts. When everyday people are killed and abducted.... It's not a frozen conflict in that sense.
In Russia they receive messages well. I know it from my experience. When there is no counteraction to the aggression, they continue with this aggression.
What we are talking about, not paying a price, didn't start in 2008. It started somewhere in the beginning of the 1990s. From the outset of the independence of these three countries, they were pro-western. Russia considered pro-western policies, although we all had—let's agree on that, somewhere in the 1990s—this perception that Russia one day might be a democratic state and part of alliances, even. They were ahead of Georgia in the 1990s in dealing with NATO.
However, the issues are that in the 1990s Russia invaded Georgia, instigated conflict in Moldova and didn't pay a price. It attacked Georgia in 2008 and didn't pay a price. Next was Crimea and the aggression in eastern [Technical difficulty—Editor].
Believe me, it's very important that the western alliance—not because the alliance is a military one but has shared values—be very vocal that Russia will pay a price if it continues with its aggressive actions.