Ukrainian police launch case against Saakashvili over illegal border crossing

Saakashvili, who was president of Georgia until 2013, acquired Ukrainian citizenship in 2015 but was stripped of that in July after a bitter falling out with his former ally, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine.

Mikheil Saakashvili and a small crowd of supporters shoved their way through a line of guards at the Ukrainian border Sunday, making good on the politician's vow to return to the land that had stripped him of citizenship.

Saakashvili's attorneys argue that it is illegal for a nation to strip a citizen of their citizenship rights when this leaves the person stateless.

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"We see what he did in his own country and that's enough for us", said Lyudmyla Goretska while waiting at Krakovets on Ukraine's side of the border with Poland. It left him effectively stateless as Georgia has also withdrawn his citizenship. As Poroshenko has revoked that citizenship, Saakashvili is technically stateless, though he contends that the revocation is illegal because global law prohibits stripping the citizenship of a person who would then become stateless.

"A crime has been committed", Mr Poroshenko said earlier on Monday. "There should be precise, legal, judicial responsibility". He has been known as a pro-Western, pro-NATO political leader in both Georgia and Ukraine.

According to him, the inviolability of the state border is a constitutional principle. Georgia, meanwhile, has tried to get Ukraine to extradite Saakashvili to face charges that include misappropriation of property and abuse of office.

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Moscow is not monitoring the border crossings of Saakashvili, Peskov said."The Kremlin has many very serious issues on the agenda, which should be monitored, and we are dealing with this", Peskov told reporters. He said that he was not under investigation in Ukraine or overseas, while in fact he was being investigated in Georgia for various charges. "I had none. As such, I can not say that we were friends".

As reported, Saakashvili arrived in Ukraine from Poland on September 10 by breaking through the state border at the Shehyni checkpoint with a group of MPs.

At the Medyka border, supporters expressed hope that Saakashvili could deliver some of the same types of reforms in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said 17 police and border guards were injured in the confrontation at the border, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

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  • Theresa Obrien