Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Supporters free Saakashvili from Ukraine police van

Supporters free Saakashvili from Ukraine police van

Saakashvili left Georgia in 2013 after serving as president for almost a decade, and later was appointed governor of Ukraine's Odessa region.

"This is Ukraine's headache and I wouldn't wish this upon an enemy", he said answering a question if Moscow is taking sides in Saakashvili's standoff with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

Prosecutors are accusing Saakashvili of colluding with Ukrainian businessmen with ties to Russian Federation to topple President Petro Poroshenko. But he quit in 2016, complaining that his efforts to root out corruption suffered official obstruction.

On Monday morning, police raided Saakashvili's flat, prompting him to climb onto the roof of his central Kiev building and address supporters below before officers led him down into the vehicle.

Saakashvili called on his supporters to go to Maidan and continue the "peaceful protest". He also called on Ukrainians to rally on Kiev's main square, the epicenter of protests in 2013 and 2014, to demand Poroshenko's resignation.

The 49-year-old served two terms as Georgian president from 2004 to 2013.

In the wake of the pro-Western revolution in Kiev he moved to Ukraine in 2015 to work for the country's authorities as governor of the key Odessa region on the Black Sea, before falling out with Poroshenko.

On Sept. 10, a defiant Saakashvili crossed into Ukraine from Poland without showing the necessary documents to the border guards.

Saakashvili's stand-off with Poroshenko ignited long-simmering popular discontent with the slow pace of reforms the latter has promised.

Prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko said at a briefing that Mr Saakashvili received $500,000 to hold protests from an associate of former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled amid mass street demonstrations in 2014. Footage from the scene showed Saakashvili being taken away while several hundred protesters were blocking the road.

But Mr Saakashvili has been adamant about his return to rally political supporters, having announced his return to the country as far back as July.

Ukraine's migration service said the president takes decisions on who is stripped of Ukrainian citizenship based on the conclusions of the citizenship commission.

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