Saakashvili "Triumphantly" Returns to Ukraine

Former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili
Wasn't Us Kiev Denies Role in Delaying Saakashvili's Train Bound for Ukraine

12 September, 2017

Mikhail Saakashvili, 49 years of age, who was deposed in July last, of his Ukrainian citizenship by the president, mr poroshenko, is also the object of an extradition request for an "abuse of power" presented by Georgia to the Ukraine.

SHEHYNI, Ukraine (Reuters) - Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and a crowd of supporters barged past guards to enter Ukraine from the Polish border on Sunday after a prolonged standoff between Saakashvili and the Ukrainian authorities.

Saakashvili became a Ukrainian citizen in 2015, giving up his Georgian citizenship. But Saakashvili quit as governor of Odessa in November, accusing Poroshenko of abetting corruption.

Saakashvili was the third president of Georgia between 2004-2007 and again in 2008-2013. The woman in charge of the Ukrainian train said she had been ordered by the authorities - she declined to specify whether Polish or Ukrainian - to stop the train leaving until Saakashvili got off. "A crime was committed instead", he said.

According to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, 16 border guards and police officers sustained bodily injuries during the incident. But while perhaps not a threat as a direct rival, Saakashvili could prove to be an effective weapon against Poroshenko for powerful opposition figures like Yulia Tymoshenko, who was with him at the border on Sunday.

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Saakashvili said he wanted to return to Ukraine to contest Poroshenko's action stripping him of his citizenship while he was out of the country. He said that he was not under investigation in Ukraine or overseas, while in fact he was being investigated in Georgia for various charges. According to the State Border Guard Service, 12 National Police fighters and 10 border guards have sustained bodily harm.

Saakashvili, a disgraced politician, boarded an Intercity train in Poland to travel to Ukraine's Lvov, but the train was delayed "because of a passenger without a right to enter the territory of Ukraine". "There always must be legal responsibility", Poroshenko said in televised remarks on Monday.

In his opinion, it does not matter who violates the rules for crossing the state border, be it militants in the east or politicians in the west.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said those who organized Saakashvili's unauthorized entry could face charges, RFE/RL reports.

At the Medyka border, supporters expressed hope that Saakashvili could deliver some of the same types of reforms in Ukraine.

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