Ukraine deports Georgian ex-president to Warsaw

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Ukraine deports Georgian ex-president to Warsaw
Copyright  Press Service Mikheil Saakashvili/Handout via REUTERS

Former Georgian president turned Ukrainian opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili has been deported to Poland after being detained by a group of armed security officers at a restaurant in Kyiv.

Poland’s border service confirmed on Monday that Saakashvili had arrived in the country and that Warsaw agreed to let him enter.

CCTV footage posted to Saakashvili’s Facebook page showed the politician being dragged away from a central Kyiv restaurant bysecurity officers dressed in camouflage.

“This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from where he arrived,” border service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan said in a post on Facebook.

In a statement, Saakashvili denounced Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“This is not a president and not a man. This is a lowlife crook who wants to wreck Ukraine. All this shows is how weak they are. We will of necessity defeat them,” he said.

Former Georgian president Saakashvili  was an enthusiastic supporter of Ukraine’s 2013-2014 Maidan revolution and was appointed by Poroshenko as governor of the country's Odessa region in 2015. 

He resigned from the post in November 2016 in protest at alleged high-level corruption and became a fierce government critic.

Last year, Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship while he was in the United States.

He returned to Ukraine via Poland in September, pledging to confront Poroshenko.

Saakashvili is wanted in Georgia on embezzlement charges, which he says are politically motivated. He says he has given up his Georgian citizenship.

He also faces criminal charges in Ukraine, where authorities accuse him of assisting a criminal organisation, which he insists is a fabricated allegation to undermine his campaign to unseat Poroshenko.