Ukraine opens criminal case over Georgia ex-president's unlawful border crossing

Aaron Brown
September 12, 2017

Before yesterday, I thought Poroshenko was smarter and Saakashvili was less self-centered.

An AFP reporter saw the one-time Ukraine governor and his supporters enter from Poland's Medyka border crossing, pushing aside Ukrainian border guards who had turned him back just hours earlier.

He then travelled by bus to the border and was stopped by guards who sealed off the area, causing a tailback of vehicles.

"I am convinced that this is a case for law enforcement agencies and they have started to act accordingly".

Now, Saakashvili wants to return to challenge that decision in court and get back into politics.

"He showed the scale of corruption of Ukraine".

Poroshenko revoked Saakshvili's citizenship in response.

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"It looks like [Poroshenko] is getting rid of a political opponent". It was obvious to everyone that a politician who has such experience, connections, hunger for power and ego wouldn't let this situation go easily.

An RFE/RL correspondent at the border reports that Ukrainian police on September 10 detained about 40 Ukrainian men wearing camouflage military uniforms who allegedly were "hired" to disrupt events marking Saakashvili's attempted return. Ukraine rescinded Saakashvili's citizenship in July of this year, while he was out of the country, making him stateless. He is wanted in Georgia on charges related to his political career there, and Tbilisi has asked the Kyiv government to extradite him, but it is not clear whether the request will be honored.

"This is a question of the national security of the state". Saakashvili wanted attention and was looking for a provocation. "I am here to show my solidarity with former President of Georgia. This is very sad", Saakashvili said Friday in Warsaw.

The revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship was met with criticism by some Ukrainian politicians with ex-Prime Minister and Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko believing that this move was another step toward dictatorship in 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. Video and photo footage has quickly overshadowed a not-allowing-train-to-depart incident.

Avakov added that he prohibited border guards and police officers to use weapon at the cross-point.

Before crossing the border, Saakashvili has explained stis difficulty by the fact that Kiev "panic", saying that he wanted "not to overthrow the president Porochenko" goal just to defend sti rights.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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