Ukraine Deports Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili to Poland
(Bloomberg) -- Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian leader-turned Ukrainian opposition politician, lost his appeal in a Ukrainian court seeking protection and refugee status after his homeland sought extradition.
Officials of Ukraine’s migration and border-security services told Saakashvili on Monday he was to be returned to Poland, where he stayed before his most recent arrival, Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for the border patrol, said in a Facebook post. Officials used force to apprehend Saakashvili and had to protect themselves from his supporters, he said.
A court in Kiev ruled on February 6 that Saakashvili has no right to remain in Ukraine after the country revoked his citizenship in July and rejected a request for political asylum. Another court ruled that the former Georgian president crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border illegally in September. He denies allegations that include abuse of office during his stint as leader of the Caucasus nation.
Saakashvili, who achieved success in curbing corruption in his homeland, was brought in by President Petro Poroshenko to help Ukraine’s post-revolutionary government. He was named leader of the Odessa region on the Black Sea coast in 2016, but later fell out with Poroshenko and eventually quit.
He now accuses the president himself of graft and had sought to challenge the current government at the ballot box. He was briefly detained in Kiev on charges that he received cash from exiled businessmen and plotted to seize power, which he denies.
Saakashvili was admitted to Poland on Ukraine’s request, taking into account that his spouse is a European Union citizen, the country’s border guard said in a statement on its website.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.