Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Saakashvili "Triumphantly" Returns to Ukraine


Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and former governor of Ukraine's Odessa region, was pushed through a Polish-Ukrainian border in Ukraine on Sunday, September 10.

Earlier, Polish border guards let Saakashvili out of the country but warned him about possible problems with the Ukrainian authorities.

Meanwhile Poroshenko's office said Saakashvili had failed to deliver change as governor and said his Ukrainian citizenship was withdrawn because he allegedly put false information on his registration form.

Speaking to reporters in the western city of Lviv later Monday, Saakashvili rejected the accusations, saying that stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship "was the crime".

"We believe in the fact that Mikheil Saakashvili can lead our country out of the crisis", supporter Lyudmyla Goretska told France24.

There were scuffles at the border between Saakashvili's supporters and border officials, Ukraine says.

Ukrainian officials say Mr Saakashvili and several deputies who accompanied him - including populist former premier Yulia Tymoshenko - and supporters who scuffled with border guards could all face several criminal charges. "Instead of this, a crime has been committed, because there is a constitutional principle of inviolability of borders", Poroshenko said.

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"I hope this gentleman [Saakashvili] will strive with the same zeal to get into Georgia as he did to reach Ukraine".

Saakashvili's relationship with Poroshenko dates back almost three decades to when they were students at the same university in Kiev and their shared opposition to the Kremlin later brought them together as politicians. This was savage: the crowd of people running to the border line, clashing with border guards, Saakashvili pushing his way through the line of soldiers and falling into arms of a cheerful crowd. His train was held at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland, as Ukrainian border guards denied him entry.

The Ukrainian president added that he would respect any court ruling for Saakashvili.

"They swept us up and carried us into Ukraine", Saakashvili said, according to BBC.

While in Warsaw on Friday, Saakashvili asserted that Ukraine was witnessing a roll-back of reforms and efforts to stem corruption, reiterating that he wanted to get back into politics.

Mikhail Saakashvili, who is known for his tie-chewing habit, stated that he lost his Ukrainian passport, which was a legal way for him to enter. "We see what he did in his own country (Georgia) and that's enough for us". So far, it is not clear if Ukraine authorities intend to honour Georgia's extradition request.

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