The messenger logo

Georgia’s ex-President Saakashvili plans to return to Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 31
Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been recently deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship, claims he will be back to Ukraine as soon as possible and will be the “part of the fight” he initiated there.

The ex-president is still in the United States as he has been deprived of the right to re-enter Ukraine, where he has lived since 2014, initially as the Governor of Odessa and then as a leader of an opposition party to Petro Poroshenko’s government.

According to official information, Saakashvili violated the law by hiding the fact that he has been wanted in Georgia at the time he received Ukrainian citizenship, which became the reason for depriving him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

Saakashvili, who lost his Georgian citizenship after gaining Ukrainian nationality in 2015 claims that Poroshenko plays “Putin’s game” and the Ukrainian leader “will lose”.

"I will return to Ukraine, because the people will be mobilized. When there will be complete mobilization, of course, I will not stand aside, I will not sit and just watch the fight. I will be an organic part of the political struggle which I initiated.

“I will certainly go to Ukraine as soon as I have the opportunity. This will happen very soon and I will become an active participant of the fight," Saakashvili told the BBC.

Speaking to Ukrainskaya Pravda, Saakashvili stated that before the deprivation of his Ukrainian citizenship, he met Poroshenko in Malta, where they had a private meeting which he claimed consisted of “two hours of intimidation and blackmail.”

"In Malta, he did not like that he appeared next to me at the European People's Party Congress. Then suddenly I was offered a meeting. We met each other. We talked for two hours. He told me that I should stop criticizing him and fulfilling Putin's plan. I laughed at it," said the former President of Georgia.

"I told him that Putin's plan was what he was doing, since he created a strategic alliance with Akhmetov, he had Khomutinik and other drug dealers in Parliament and made agreements with them. I think that's exactly Putin's plan," Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili claims he was offered a parliamentary faction from Poroshenko if he would stop opposing him, to which Poroshenko received a negative answer.

Saakashvili’s deprivation of his Ukrainian citizenship came shortly after Poroshenko’s first visit to Georgia in mid-July this year.

During the visit, Poroshenko said that he “did not know” Georgia had twice requested Saakashvili’s extradition, who faces several charges in Georgia.

Poroshenko claimed it was good he was not aware of the “legal issue,” as “Presidents must not be involved in law enforcers’ business.”

However, Saakashvili’s extradition from Ukraine could not take place if Saakashvili held Ukrainian citizenship, as Ukraine’s constitution prohibits the extradition of Ukrainian citizens.

Now, however, Saakashvili has no citizenship.

Based on the Vienna Convention, a person must not be left without the patronage of any country.

As Saakashvili was in the United States when he lost his Ukrainian citizenship, it now means that he is under American US patronage.

If Saakashvili requests the status of a person without citizenship in the US and will be given a special identification card, he will be able to stay in America indefinitely.

If he decides to visit some other country from the US, the host country must decide whether to let him in or not.

If Saakashvili is placed in the special searching system of Interpol, in the red circular, the US will have to extradite Saakashvili.

If Georgia requests Saakashvili’s extradition from the US now, the country will decide whether to extradite the former president or not based on the materials and evidence sent from Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office.

Saakashvili, who served as Georgia’s third president from 2004-2007 and again from 2008-2013, is accused of the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007; the unlawful raiding of the Imedi television company by riot police; and the illegal take-over of property owned by late media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili.

In 2014, Saakashvili was officially charged in Georgia; however, by the time his case went through court he was already in Ukraine.

On May 30 2015, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as head of Ukraine’s Odessa region. At the same time he was also granted the Ukrainian citizenship.

Receiving Ukrainian citizenship meant Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship was automatically revoked, as Georgian legislation prohibits people from holding dual citizenship, except for in exceptional circumstances.

Russian Prime Minister President Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his Facebook over the Saakashvili-Poroshenko controversy that the “show must go on”.