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Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Ex-Georgia leader Mikheil Saakashvili enters Ukraine

Ex-Georgia leader Mikheil Saakashvili enters Ukraine

Saakashvili's relationship with Poroshenko dates back almost three decades to when they were students at the same university in Kyiv and their shared opposition to the Kremlin later brought them together as politicians.

They passed the Polish checkpoint but were held at the Ukrainian border for almost two hours. It left him effectively stateless as Georgia has also withdrawn his citizenship.

Former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to stay in Ukraine to try to oust its "oligarchic" political elite, a day after forcing his way back into the country in what its president called a criminal act that must be punished.

According to the Ukrainian president, the former Georgian and Ukrainian official committed a crime instead of appealing the decision to strip him of Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili excels at playing the crusading reformer for Western audiences, but he failed to clean up Odessa, and his democratic record in Georgia is far from spotless. However, Saakashvili, kicked out of the country for calling out the president of Ukraine for corruption, was not to be denied.

Georgia, where he faces accusations of abuse of power and misappropriation of property, has sent an extradition request for him to Ukraine. It's not clear if Ukraine intends to honor it.

Saakashvili and Poroshenko were once buddies, and Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili president of Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities had blocked a Kiev-bound train carrying Saakashvili earlier on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says that Mikheil Saakashvili should fill the form of the border-crossing fact at the Shehyini checkpoint or immigration service. "That means I am legally in Ukraine".

At present it seems unlikely that Saakashvili, who studied in Ukraine and speaks fluent Ukrainian, will come to power.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wants punishments to be handed down for the Saakashvili-supporters who barged across the border to bring Saakashvili across from Poland. He reportedly met Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi late Sunday night.

Ukrainian officials say Mr Saakashvili and several deputies who accompanied him - including populist former premier Yulia Tymoshenko - and supporters who scuffled with border guards could all face several criminal charges.

At the Medyka border, supporters expressed hope that Saakashvili could deliver some of the same types of reforms in Ukraine. "I don't think this issue (Saakashvili's travel) is qualified as a serious one". "He showed who steals, how much and how".

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