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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ambassador's Comments Rile Tbilisi

TBILISI, Georgia — Russia and Georgia were locked in a new diplomatic spat Monday, this time over a speech in which the Russian ambassador said Georgia's population was shrinking and would disappear.

The incident was triggered when Georgian television station Imedi obtained footage of Russian Ambassador Vyacheslav Kovalenko making the remarks in a speech.

On Monday, he was summoned to the Georgian Foreign Ministry to explain his comments, while about 30 protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy with placards reading, "Why are all Russian ambassadors so stupid?"

As he emerged from his meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Kovalenko said his comments had been taken out of context. "It was in no way an attempt to humiliate the Georgian people," he said.