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Ukraine Deports Saakashvili to Poland

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 14
(KYIV))--Georgia’s third President Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been fought with his one-time ally President Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine, has been deported to Poland by the Ukrainian border service forces on February 12.

Ukraine and Poland both confirmed Saakashvili’s deportation Poland.

The Ukrainian leadership stated that Saakashvili was deported to the country, from where he illegally entered Ukraine in 2017, after being deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship.

Saakashvili, who was publicly detained in a Georgian restaurant Sulguni in Kyiv, has addressed the EU to act against Poroshenko, “who will ruin Ukraine.”

The former president of Georgia also vowed he would continue fight in Ukraine to “free the country from the corrupt government.”

"In one of the cafes in Kyiv, I was attacked by men in masks; they kidnapped me, threatened me and took me on a private jet to Poland,” Saakashvili told the foreign media.

"If the EU and in particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn't do anything, Ukraine will come to ruins,” Saakashvili claimed.

The former president, who now leads the New Forces opposition movement in Ukraine, says he is not going to ask for political asylum in Poland.

The deportation came after noisy trials in Ukraine as the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of the country accused Saakashvili of cooperating with illegal groups to overthrow the Poroshenko’s government, which Saakashvili strongly rejected.

The whole process around Saakashvili and the trails were accompanied with the demonstrations by the former Georgian president’s supporters in the heart of the Ukraine’s capital.

The government of Georgia, which several times requested Saakashvili’s extradition to Georgia for several charges the ex-president faces in the homeland, claim they would request it to any country where Saakashvili will be to extradite.

“Saakashvili will continue to fight. Poroshenko has made a big mistake because Saakashvili gained more political weight,” Giorgi Baramidze, member of the Georgian United National Movement opposition party stated.

A member of another opposition party-European Georgia, Saakashvili’s former ally Gigi Ugulava says that it is good the ex-president is in Poland now.

“It is very good that Saakashvili is in Poland, because the shameful speculation about extradition to Georgia will end up completely and this topic is theoretically excluded,”Ugulava said.

“Poland is the EU member state, respects human rights, the rule of law is protected in the country and there is no danger of Saakashvili's imprisonment,” Ugulava stated.

Some of Georgian analysts believe that the Georgian Dream leadership avoided Saakashvili extradition, as such a fact could cause stir in Georgia, taking Saakashvili’s figure into consideration.

Saakashvili’s presidential term in Georgia expired in 2013, a year after the Georgian Dream party founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili ended the nine-year rule of the United National Movement leadership.

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

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as governor of Odessa in May 2015, but in November 2016, the Georgian ex-President resigned, accusing Poroshenko of lobbying corruption.

Saakashvili later said that despite his resignation, he would continue his fight against corruption in Ukraine with the aid of new, honest people.

Prior to his appointment as the Governor of Odessa, Saakashvili received Ukrainian citizenship. Receiving Ukrainian citizenship meant Saakashvili’s Georgian citizenship was automatically revoked.

Last year Ukrainian President issued a decree annulling Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship, shortly after his official visit to Georgia, left Saakashvili stateless.

In December 2017, Saakashvili was detained two times in Ukraine for cooperating with illegal groups and was finally sent to part-time home arrest, which expired several days ago, on February 6, 2018.