Saakashvili Eager to Return to Ukraine after Zelensky’s Victory

After Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, a newcomer in politics running his first-ever race for a public office, won the presidential elections, ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili expressed readiness to return to Ukraine.

Saakashvili, who served as the third president of Georgia in 2004-2013 and the Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa in 2015-2016, replied to the statement of the Ukrainian Border Police that Saakashvili is banned from entering Ukraine until 2021, which said: “In September 2017 Saakashvili crossed the state border with Poland illegally…Because of the offense committed by him, limitations have been imposed on him until 2021.”

Saakashvili says he wants to be a part of the big transformation in Ukraine, adding it is unfair that he is expelled from the country that he loves as much as Georgia.

“While Poroshenko is the President, I did not expect a different answer from the border police. But it is fine. I can wait a little bit more,” Saakashvili stated in his Facebook post.

Saakashvili supported Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. On 30 May 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him as Governor of Odessa Oblast. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship but due to restrictions on dual nationality under Georgian law, was stripped of his Georgian citizenship.

On 7 November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as Governor, blaming President Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odessa and in Ukraine overall. Four days later he announced creating a new political movement.

On 26 July 2017, Saakashvili, at the time staying in the U.S, was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Petro Poroshenko, and became a stateless person.

He cannot return to Georgia either because of the various charges against him.

 

By Thea Morrison

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