Ex-Georgian leader Saakashvili barges across Ukraine border


Police in western Ukraine's Lvov region have filed new criminal charges against Georgian ex-president and former Odessa Region's governor Mikhail Saakashvili, who illegally crossed into Ukraine from Poland.

"I don't plan to oust anyone, I plan only to legally defend my interests", Saakashvili said Sunday afternoon, a few hours before his victorious entry to Ukraine with a crowd of a few hundred people cheering him on.

Supporters of the Former Georgian President and former Ukraine official Mikheil Saakashvili clash with border guards at Shegini check point on Ukrainian-Polish border, Ukraine, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

Mr Poroshenko defended his decision to annul Mr Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship, noting that no appeal against the move had been lodged in court. Saakashvili and President Petro Poroshenko too, but the cost they will pay for yesterday's circus will be much lower than what the country will have to pay.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the Polish city of Rzeszow, Saakashvili said Poroshenko viewed him as an "existential threat". "Instead of this, a crime has been committed, because there is a constitutional principle of inviolability of borders", Poroshenko said. He had been in Ukraine since 2012, after the rise of pro-Russian politicians in Georgia who charged him with abuse of power due to his imprisonment of Georgian opposition figures on corruption charges.

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Saakashvili denies the accusations branding them a political witch hunt.

Saakashvili said he wanted to return to Ukraine to contest Poroshenko's action stripping him of his citizenship while he was out of the country. He then traveled by bus to the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing, where he was allowed to pass through a Polish checkpoint on the border with Ukraine, but then temporarily blocked from reaching the Ukrainian checkpoint by a line of border guards standing arm-in-arm. "There always must be legal responsibility", Poroshenko said in televised remarks on Monday. The statement reads that the violators face from 5 to 8 years in prison. I do believe that many in the presidential administration had simply hoped that Saakashvili wouldn't strike back.

Saakashvili, who has been overseas since mid-July, refused to accept the loss of his Ukrainian citizenship, saying he would return to Ukraine to continue his political career. This was an immature and emotional decision to get rid of his irritating former friend.

Last week Georgia's Prosecutor General's Office has sent the third request to the Ukrainian Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office, asking them to detain and extradite ex-president to Georgia, when he entered Ukraine.