Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Former governor Mikheil Saakashvili 'forces entry' to Ukraine

Saakashvili addresses his supporters after escaping from law enforcement and leading them on a march toward the Parliament building in Kiev on Tuesday View Slideshow
Kenny Thornton | 05 December, 2017, 15:49

Now the crowd of Saakashvili's supporters is heading to the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to demand passing a law on impeaching Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

Prosecutors are accusing Saakashvili of colluding with Ukrainian businessmen with ties to Russian Federation to topple President Petro Poroshenko.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented the arrest of former Georgian leader and ex-Odessa Regional Governor Mikhail Saakashvili in Kiev.

Saakashvili fell out with Poroshenko over accusations that Kiev was failing to make good on the fight against corruption. But he quit that office in 2016, complaining that his efforts to root out corruption suffered official obstruction.

Several hundred supporters surrounded the van, refusing to let it drive off. Footage from the scene showed protesters picking up cobblestones and construction rubble to build barricades.

Saakashvili called on his supporters to go to Maidan and continue the "peaceful protest".

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Saakashvili was wearing a flag with Ukraine's yellow and blue colors around his neck as he marched in central Kiev surrounded by supporters.

Saakashvili is credited with pushing through pro-Western reforms in his native Georgia which he led from 2004 to 2013 after rising to power during the so-called Rose Revolution in 2003.

It did not provide the exact reason, but stated that this could be done if a Ukrainian national acquired citizenship of another country or submitted false documents. Saakashvili forced his way across Ukraine's border with Poland earlier this year, with help from protesters.

The Security Service said in a statement that Saakashvili is facing a criminal investigation for "assisting members of criminal organizations or hiding their criminal activities".

Prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko said at a briefing that Mr Saakashvili received $500,000 to hold protests from an associate of former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled amid mass street demonstrations in 2014.

But Mr Saakashvili has been adamant about his return to rally political supporters, having announced his return to the country as far back as July. The prosecutors plan to ask the court to place Saakashvili under house arrest, he said.

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