Stateless Mikheil Saakashvili breaks through into Ukraine

Wendy Jensen
September 12, 2017

According to the Ukrainian president, the former Georgian and Ukrainian official committed a crime instead of appealing the decision to strip him of Ukrainian citizenship.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday that Ukrainian border guards acted correctly during the unprecedented border crossing by the ex-president of Georgia and former governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili.

Responding to Poroshenko's comments from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Saakashvili said he crossed the border with a legal Ukrainian passport.

Saakashvili hurriedly left Georgia after his presidential term ended in 2013.

The State Migration Service has said that Saakashvili had submitted incorrect information when he applied for citizenship in 2015.

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"It does not matter who violates the state border - invaders in the East or politicians in the West".

According to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, 16 border guards and police officers sustained bodily injuries during the incident.

Poroshenko invited Saakashvili to become a regional governor in Ukraine to help drive reforms after pro-democracy protests in 2014 ousted a pro-Russian president in Kiev.

Video footage showing chaotic scenes of Mr Saakashvili's supporters overpowering border guards went viral, with pro-Western lawmaker Svitlana Zalishchuk labelling it a "circus". "I demand to be let into my Ukraine", he said.

Saakashvili has denied the charges, and says they are politically motivated. "No matter how many times he says that I am not a danger [to] him, every action of his shows exactly the opposite - that he regards me as a great and immediate danger", Saakashvili also said.

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"Why is President Poroshenko so afraid of me", Saakashvili told reporters before breaking through to Ukraine. 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.

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.

Saakashvili's attorneys argue that it is illegal for a nation to strip a citizen of their citizenship rights when this leaves the person stateless.

Kiev could leave Saakashvili alone, arrest him and possibly extradite him to Georgia.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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