Ukrainian police launch case against Saakashvili over illegal border crossing

Ukrainian police launch case against Saakashvili over illegal border crossing

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described as a crime the illegal crossing of the state border by former Head of Odesa Regional Administration Mikheil Saakashvili and a group of MPs.

Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship in July.

Saakashvili has accused the Ukrainian authorities of using pressure tactics to deter him from returning to Kiev, where he has launched a campaign to unseat Poroshenko.

"Saakashvili's return to Ukrainian politics was triumphant albeit scandalous", Mr Vadym Karasyov, director of the Kiev-based Institute of Global Strategies, said. Even for those who publicly criticised Poroshenko for revoking Saakashvili's citizenship, the border episode was too much.

The comments came a day after Saakashvili forced his way past border guards into his adopted homeland with hundreds supporters in protest against the withdrawal of his Ukrainian citizenship by the government.

Saakashvili's relationship with Poroshenko dates back almost three decades to when they were students at the same university in Kiev and their shared opposition to the Kremlin later brought them together as politicians.

Yesterday he illegally and forcefully crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Another supporter, Maria, 49, who declined to give her surname, said she believes "Saakashvili is the future president" of Ukraine and "will finish the war" with Russian Federation.

No matter how hard I try, I just can't find a logical explanation that would justify the decision to stop the train from leaving and increasing security at the border.

The Ukrainian president added that he would respect any court ruling for Saakashvili.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said Sahakashvili and his supporters face a possible 5 year prison term.

Ukraine's migration service said the president takes decisions on who is stripped of Ukrainian citizenship based on the conclusions of the citizenship commission.

The restless politician refused to accept that the territory was mined and approached the Ukrainian borders where he presented a speech in Ukrainian about the situation: "These guys who we are very proud of, serve the state which produces more than they do".

Saakashvili attempted to enter Ukraine from Poland, where he used his Ukrainian passport to travel by train and bus into the country.

Saakashvili denies the allegations and says Georgia's extradition request was made on behalf of "oligarchs" who fear his presence in Ukraine.

Prosecutor-General Yuri Lutsenko said late on Sunday that charges would be pursued against organisers of Saakashvili's unauthorised entry.

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