Ex-Georgian president Saakashvili 'kidnapped' in Ukraine, deported to Poland

Ex-Georgian president Saakashvili 'kidnapped' in Ukraine, deported to Poland

Poland's border service has confirmed that Saakashvili is now in Poland.

On September 10th a year ago, Saakashvili was forcibly brought into Ukraine from the Polish territory, having managed to bypass the Ukrainian border forces, with the help of hundreds of supporters.

Subsequently, the State Border Guard Service said that Saakashvili had returned to the country from which he "arrived, in violation of Ukrainian legislation".

Saakashvili said that he did not intend to seek asylum in Poland, and vowed to eventually return to Ukraine.

After fleeing Georgia, Saakashvili moved to Ukraine, where he was granted citizenship by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and appointed governor of Odessa in 2015.

Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for the Ukrainian border service, said Saakashvili entered the country illegally in September from Poland after being stripped of his citizenship.

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Saakashvili still faces criminal charges in Ukraine. He has also been charged by Kiev with involvement in a Russian-led plot to destabilize Ukraine, an accusation he describes as "lies".

Saakashvili moved to Ukraine in 2014, when he was an ally of Poroshenko.

But he told Current Time that "Georgian authorities absolutely do not want me [to be extradited to Georgia], because as soon as I am back to Georgia they will be toppled". Ukrainian police opened criminal proceedings against him over the illegal border crossing in September 2017. His supporters broke through the cordon of security forces and escorted him into Ukraine.

Saakashvili's press secretary, Tetiana Barganovskaya, told Britain's The Guardian that men in camouflage took the former president from a Kiev restaurant.

The politician was deported after rulings by Ukrainian courts that said he was staying in the country illegally. On February 5, his appeal against that decision was also rejected.

Mr Saakashvili and many Ukrainians saw this as a politically motivated attack, however, and it came as reformist deputies and civil society groups accused the billionaire Mr Poroshenko of protecting the interests of a corrupt elite.

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