May 23, 2018

Georgian ex-president burst through police block and into Ukraine

12 September 2017, 12:35 | Sheila Mcguire

Former Georgian President Breaks Through Ukrainian Checkpoint After He Was Refused Entry by Train

The ex-Georgian president Saakashvili forced the Ukraine to participate in the elections

Saakashvili relinquished his Georgian citizenship when he accepted an offer to become the governor of the coastal region of Odessa in 2015 at the personal behest of President Petro Poroshenko.

Mr Saakashvili, a former regional governor of Ukraine's key Odessa region, and hundreds of his supporters on Sunday barged their way past guards at a border crossing with Poland.

Thousands of his supporters had gathered on the Ukrainian side of the border and some pushed through guards and brought Saakashvili into Ukraine at the Medyka-Shehnyi crossing - 80 kilometers (50 milies) west of the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

The ex-Georgian president Saakashvili forced the Ukraine to participate in the elections

In Georgia between 2004 and 2013, he was credited with pushing through pro-Western and anti-graft reforms.

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

Another supporter, Maria, 49, who declined to give her surname, said she believes "Saakashvili is the future president" of Ukraine and "will finish the war" with Russian Federation.

The former Georgian president, who has vowed to return to Ukraine to challenge the revocation of his Ukrainian citizenship and to reenter politics, now runs the risk of being arrested on the grounds that he illegally entered Ukraine. "There should be direct legal accountability", Poroshenko said, according to the Kyiv Post.

Kiev justified the move by claiming that Saakashvili had provided "inaccurate information" in his citizenship application.

Georgia, where he faces accusations of abuse of power and misappropriation of property, has sent an extradition request for him to Ukraine.

"I am in support of Mikheil Saakashvili because I live here and I want for this person who lifted Georgia from its knees out of the dirt, for him to come here and help us do this too", one supporter said. He eventually got off the train and took a bus to Medyka, where he successfully crossed the border.

The stateless Saakashvili had initially meant to travel through the Krakovets border crossing where hundreds of supporters of his Movement of the New Forces party had gathered.

Moscow is not monitoring the border crossings of Saakashvili, Peskov said."The Kremlin has many very serious issues on the agenda, which should be monitored, and we are dealing with this", Peskov told reporters.

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