Saakashvili Supporters Force Entry Into Ukraine

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

A criminal case over illegal border crossing was opened in Ukraine after ex-Odessa governor Mikhail Saakashvili broke through the country's border, the Ukrainian police reported on September 11.

Television footage showed Ukrainian security officials in Leopolis Hotel's lobby in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said he thinks that former Odesa Regional Governor and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has the right to have his case on the loss of Ukrainian citizenship heard in a Ukrainian court.

But he quit in November 2016 amid a dramatic falling out with Poroshenko, who stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship in July while he was out of the country. His supporters gathered at the Shehyni checkpoint and began a fight with border guards in the transit zone, helping Saakashvili and a group of other people, including five parliamentarians, illegally cross the border.

"We are acting lawfully and protecting the law", he said during an improvised press conference outside his hotel on Monday. He announced plans to hold rallies in towns across Ukraine and to travel to the capital, Kiev.

Saakashvili Supporters Force Entry Into Ukraine

Another supporter, Maria, 49, who declined to give her surname, said she believes "Saakashvili is the future president" of Ukraine and "will finish the war" with Russian Federation. Ukraine is fed up with the old corrupt political class.

"We need new people".

Mr Saakashvili was appointed governor of Odessa in 2015 on the strength of his record of fighting corruption as Georgia's president between 2004 and 2013. However, he resigned from the Odessa post after 18 months, complaining that official corruption in Ukraine was so entrenched he couldn't work effectively.

TBILISI, DFWatch-Saakashvili is Georgia's "very sad past" says Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili while commenting recent developments in Ukraine.

He is now wanted in Georgia on allegations of corruption and abuse of power but claims that the UNHCR recognises him as being "stateless". It is not clear if Ukraine intends to honour the request.

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