Ukrainian police launch case against Saakashvili over illegal border crossing
Sep 12, 2017, 00:34
Ukrainian citizenship of Saakashvili was taken away by order of PresidentPetro Poroshenko. He also does not have Georgian citizenship, which he declined in order to take on a Ukrainian passport in 2015.
However, the two men fell out, and Saakashvili resigned in November 2016, blaming Poroshenko for corruption in the country and stating that he meant to form his own political movement.
"Saakashvili's return to Ukrainian politics was triumphant albeit scandalous", Mr Vadym Karasyov, director of the Kiev-based Institute of Global Strategies, said.
"But instead, he committed a crime - because the state border must not be violated", Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said 17 police and border guards were injured in the confrontation at the border, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. As Poroshenko has revoked that citizenship, Saakashvili is technically stateless, though he contends that the revocation is illegal because worldwide law prohibits stripping the citizenship of a person who would then become stateless.
Saakashvili has denied the charges, and says they are politically motivated. "When people brought me to Ukraine on their hands, I left my passport on the bus. There always must be legal responsibility", Poroshenko said in televised remarks on Monday.
Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship in July amid a dramatic falling out.
"We believe that Mikheil Saakashvili can lead our country out of the crisis", Lyudmyla Goretska, one of thousands of supporters waiting in Krakovets on the Ukrainian side of the border, told AFP. Has Krakovets, city-Ukrainian border by which it originally meant to enter Ukraine, several dozens of his supporters had gathered in the hope to welcome her arrival. Saakashvili was a strong supporter of those protests and later was a staunch ally of Poroshenko, but more recently he has opposed the current administration in Kyiv, accusing Poroshenko and others of contributing to widespread corruption. Georgian authorities are seeking his extradition to face a range of charges of misappropriating property and abuse of office, RFE says.
An RFE/RL correspondent at the border reports that Ukrainian police on September 10 detained about 40 Ukrainian men wearing camouflage military uniforms who allegedly were "hired" to disrupt events marking Saakashvili's attempted return.
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