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The News in Brief

Friday, March 31
Mikheil Saakashvil: Dream has come true

“I would like to say thank you, as Georgian citizens now are allowed to travel without visas to the EU,” former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said at the EPP congress in Malta.

“Our government started negotiations on the issue with the EU. We built airports, prepared infrastructure. The dream has come true. Thanks to the European People’s Party that supported us,” Mikheil Saakashvili has said.

According to Saakashvili, he remains the head of United National Movement in Georgia and leader of another party in Ukraine. “But today I represent Georgia, now and would like to talk about it,” he said.

As he has declared, he led the most successful experiment of reforms in the post-Soviet area.

“In 2012 we handed over power peacefully to others, but they were not ready for it. Ivanishvili, a Gazprom shareholder, became the leader of a government that arrested all opposition leaders and banished others from the country. I cannot return there even now,’ Saakashvili has said.

According to him, Ivanishvili abused the judiciary and electoral systems and is now changing the constitution in order to permanently be involved with the government.

“In 2008 Russia failed to annex Georgia. But four years later the Russian oligarch and Russia itself used measures such as provocations, and bribery to destabilize the country,” he said.

According to Saakashvili, Russia managed to conquer Georgia by means of the elections, and killed the most successful reforms in the former USSR.. (IPN)

Georgia detains Ukrainian ex-official linked to Yanukovich

An ally of the exiled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich has been detained in Tbilisi by Interpol on suspicion of corruption.

Igor Kiriushin (59), a veteran official at the Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy, was detained at Tbilisi airport on Saturday as he walked off a plane from Russia.

Interpol’s Georgia office and local law enforcers arrested Kiriushin on Saturday, but Ministry of Internal Affairs made the information public only Wednesday morning after Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko wrote it on his Facebook page.

Lutsenko wrote that Igor Kiriushin, a former deputy minister, is accused of embezzlement of over 2 billion hryvnia of public funds under the presidency of Victor Yanukovich, who was ousted and fled Ukraine in February 2014.

2 billion hryvnia is about USD 74 million according to the current exchange rate, yet would by a much larger sum if taking into account the drastic devaluation of Ukraine’s currency over the last years.

The legal procedures for extraditing Kiriushin to Ukraine are now in motion, MIA states. (

Protocol on making amendments to the agreement on cooperation

Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili, along with Minister of Interior of Latvia Rihards Kozlovskis, have signed a protocol on making amendments to the agreement on “Cooperation in the field of border protection between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Interior of Larvia”. The signing ceremony was held at the presidential palace.

According to the changes, cooperation between the countries in the field of border protection will be significantly enhanced. As well as the border protection sphere and patrol police department, the agreement also envisages enhancement of cooperation in migration issues. The protocol of amendments envisages the exchange of experience on identifying illegal migrants, displacement and deportation, and training for border guards, as well as other staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (

Vilnius surprises first visa-free visitors from Georgia

A large street banner has been installed near the Vilnius Airport to warmly greet first guests from Georgia who travel to Lithuania visa-free.

The bilingual banner says in English and Georgian: "Closer than ever.”

The photographs of the banner were shared on Facebook by Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius.

He said the banner was meant to surprise the first Georgian visa-free guests arriving from Kutaisi International Airport in Vilnius.

"Yesterday, Georgia-EU visa-free travel came into force and now Georgians can move freely within the European Union countries. We have prepared a surprise from the first visa-free guests,” he said.

The banner was not the only surprise the first visa-free travellers enjoyed in Vilnius. They were also greeted by the Mayor himself, the Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister, as well as by local journalists and the Georgian Ambassador in Lithuania. A special event organised at the airport saw welcoming speeches by the officials and Georgia-Lithuania friendship cupcakes.

The regulation which lifted the visa requirements for Georgian citizens came into effect yesterday. Based on the new regulations, Georgian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the Schengen Zone for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.

The new visa-free countries include 22 EU states, four non-EU countries and four EU membership candidate states. (

Georgia to host 13 international sports events within the framework of 'Check in Georgia' project

Georgia will host 13 international sports events within the framework of the 'Check in Georgia' project this year.

A presentation of the international sports events was held by Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Tariel Khechikashvili, First Deputy Minister Akaki Lodia and Deputy Minister of Economic Development Ketevan Bochorishvili.

The following sports events will be held in Georgia: Judo Grand Prix; international car racing championship; Davis Cup match, Georgia – Lithuania; European championship in sumo; World Run - Wings For Life; European Championship in Wushu; European Rafting Championship; World Youth Rugby Championship; European Fencing Championships; European Youth Football Championship; World Youth Handball Championship; Chess World Cup; and the final phase of Women's Volleyball European Championship.

The organizers say that the scales of the events are unprecedented, and Georgia will host guests from roughly 70 countries. (