Former Georgian leader Saakashvili deported from Ukraine to Poland


Ukraine’s border service spokesperson says the former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was deported to Poland. (ReutersArchive)


Former Georgian president-turned-Ukrainian opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili was deported to Poland, Ukrainian officials say, hours after unknown “kidnappers” seized him from the Ukrainian capital.

Georgia’s former president-turned-Ukrainian opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili has been deported from Ukraine to Poland, Ukraine’s border service spokesperson said on Monday.

“This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from where he arrived,” spokesperson Oleh Slobodyan said in a post on Facebook.

Earlier, Saakashvili’s official Facebook page and spokesperson said that he was detained by unknown “kidnappers” in Kiev.

“Unknown people in masks seized Mikheil Saakashvili and took him away … The kidnappers were in a white minivan,” the post read.

His spokesperson said he had been taken by men in green camouflage and his whereabouts were unknown.

The border service later confirmed that Saakashvili was dispatched to Poland.

Last week his lawyer warned he could face imminent deportation or extradition after he lost a court appeal.

President of his native Georgia for nine years until 2013, Saakashvili moved to Ukraine after a popular uprising there and served under Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as a regional governor from 2015-2016, before falling out with the Ukrainian leader.

The 49-year-old, who accuses the Ukrainian authorities of widespread corruption, may face extradition after his appeal for protection was rejected by a Kiev court on February 5.

He is wanted in Georgia on four charges including abuse of office, which he says are trumped up.

The Ukrainian court upheld an earlier ruling to deny him the status of a person in need of additional protection.

His lawyer, Ruslan Chernolutsky, said the ruling would likely pave the way for Saakashvili’s departure from Ukraine.

“We all need to be prepared for the fact that the authorities in an illegal manner will take the decision on his compulsory deportation or possible extradition,” he said.

In December, Ukrainian General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said Saakashvili was likely to be extradited.

Saakashvili also faces criminal charges in Ukraine.

The authorities accuse him of assisting a criminal organisation, which he calls a fabricated allegation to undermine his campaign to unseat Poroshenko.



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