Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Saakashvili Says He Crossed Ukrainian Border Legally

Saakashvili Says He Crossed Ukrainian Border Legally

Saakashvili, formerly Georgian, then Ukrainian, is now a stateless person, as his Ukrainian citizenship was removed by Poroshenko after a falling out.

He said Saakashvili should have contested the decree stripping him of citizenship in court if he disagreed with it.

After leaving Georgia for self-imposed exile in the United States in 2013, Saakashvili went to Ukraine in 2015 to work for the country's pro-Western authorities as governor of the Odesa region. The former Georgian president, who left office after two terms, contends those claims are politically motivated.

He then hopped into a vehicle bound for the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where supporters greeted him on his arrival, the AFP news agency reported.

The border breakthrough at the Medyka-Shehyni crossing point on the Polish-Ukrainian border came after a day of drama and repeatedly changing travel plans.

Saakashvili and a small crowd of supporters on Sunday shoved their way through a line of guards at the Ukrainian border, making good on the politician's vow to return to the country that had stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

"I want to thank everyone, all our heroes, all those people, all the veterans, all the lawmakers who have helped us", Saakashvili said after crossing. "I have no idea where it is now". Even for those who publicly criticised Poroshenko for revoking Saakashvili's citizenship, the border episode was too much. "I don't care who breaks the state border: fighters in the east, or politicians in the west".

The ex-Georgian president Saakashvili forced the Ukraine to participate in the elections
Former Georgia leader, now a man without a country, slips into Ukraine

Some analysts say Mr Saakashvili is seeking to rouse supporters and eventually unseat Mr Poroshenko.

The Kyiv Post confirms that Saakashvili is now in a hotel in Lviv, guarded by "about 70 fully uniformed soldiers of the Donbas battalion" who answer to Saakashvili allies. He had been in Ukraine since 2012, after the rise of pro-Russian politicians in Georgia who charged him with abuse of power due to his imprisonment of Georgian opposition figures on corruption charges. Saakashvili resigned in November 2016, over a disagreement with Poroshenko, BBC and AFP reported.

"He showed the scale of corruption of Ukraine". 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. "Poroshenko chose his friends based on who had money".

"I was tremendously impressed", he said. According to the 1961 United Nations.

The populist Mr Saakashvili - who ran Georgia for almost a decade after leading its 2003 Rose Revolution, but is on the wanted list of its current authorities - insisted he had "no ambition towards any particular office in Ukraine".

"We didn't want this country when we stayed on Maidan", he told reporters.

The President of Ukraine also spoke on the situation.

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