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Former governor ‘forces entry’ to Ukraine
Mikheil Saakashvili ©Chatham House/Wikimedia

Former governor ‘forces entry’ to Ukraine

11/09/17Government

Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s ex-president and former regional governor in Ukraine, has crossed into the country, helped by a mass of supporters.

Saakashvili said that he was unexpectedly swept over the border by a crowd who were angry that the crossing was closed.

Ukrainian officials say that Saakashvili entered illegally, and 16 border guards and National Guard members were injured.

The Georgian ex-president said: “They swept us up and carried us into Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine said that there were scuffles at the border between Saakashvili’s supporters and border officials.

Mikheil Saakashvili was formerly Georgian, and then Ukrainian, however is now classified as a stateless person. His citizenship was removed by former ally President Petro Poroshenko following a disagreement.

Ukraine is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which prohibits the withdrawal of citizenship when doing so would result in a person becoming stateless.

Saakashvili is also wanted in Georgia for criminal charges, which he claims are politically motivated.

On Sunday (10 September), the train Saakashvili was on was held at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland, as Ukrainian border guards denied his entry.

He told a pro-opposition TV station that the border authorities “provoked and provoked” people. However, he praised Ukrainian border guards and National Guard members for not using violence.

Danny Aeberhard, the BBC’s Europe regional editor, said that once Saakashvili enters Ukraine, he could potentially be arrested and deported to Georgia to face charges.

Pan European Networks Ltd