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Ex-President breaks into Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 12
Georgia’s third President Mikheil Saakashvili, who had been deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship and faces extradition to Georgia for several charges, broke through the Ukrainian border on Sunday with the help of his supporters from the territory of Poland.

Saakashvili was with his wife and one of his sons, several Ukrainian MPs, Ukraine’s former PM Yulia Timoshenko and Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.

Saakashvili stresses he will “fight for Ukraine even at the expense of his life” and claims he was illegally deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26.

Now, Saakashvili, as his lawyer claims, addresses Ukraine to declare him as a person who needs additional protection, which will suspend his extradition to Georgia.

Saakashvili says he is supported by the people of Ukraine and accuses the Ukrainian police of stealing his passport.

He claims when he was taken by his supporters to Ukraine his passport was in a bus, and the document disappeared after the Ukrainian police searched the vehicle.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stressed that Saakashvili could adhere to legal procedures if he had questions with his citizenship, but he refused to do so.

“I hope that the man will strive to get into Georgia with the same dedication he used to break into Ukraine,” President Poroshenko said.

Attorney General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko promised the participants and organizers of the illegal border crossing will be prosecuted under the law.

"Struggling for power, Saakashvili's supporters destroy the state. Who does not agree - try to break through the Georgian or British border," the Prosecutor General wrote.

Lutsenko also added that the only way to resolve disputes about the legality of the actions of the authorities against a citizen is a court.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the polish side didn't interfere with the crossing of Ukraine’s border by Saakashvili as it represents an internal affair of Ukraine.

A Georgian Dream parliamentary majority representative, Gedevan Popkhadze, stated that Ukraine made a mistake when they let the “Trojan Horse” to enter Ukraine and take an official post there.

The United National Movement opposition representatives claim Saakashvili’s arrival in Ukraine proves the “regimes will soon be defeated” in Ukraine and Georgia, and demanded Saakashvili be re-granted his Georgian citizenship.

The head of the non-parliamentary Movement for Building, ex-Speaker of Parliament David Usupashvili believes the only interest Saakashvili cares about is his “personal goals.”

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.

Saakashvili’s deprivation of his Ukrainian citizenship came shortly after Poroshenko’s first visit to Georgia in mid-July this year. At that time Saakashvili was already in opposition in Ukraine and was accusing Poroshenko of lobbying for corruption.

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

Saakashvili, who was in the United States in that period, claimed that he would return to Ukraine and continue his fight there.