BBCI: Georgia ex-leader Saakashvili stripped of Ukraine's citizenship

Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's deprivation of Ukrainian citizenship brings that country a step closer to dictatorship, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, leader of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party Yulia Tymoshenko said, reports Armenpress. I have only one citizenship, that of Ukraine, and I will not be deprived of it. Attempts are now underway to force me to become a refugee.

Mr Saakashvili, a former ally of Mr Poroshenko, is now overseas.

Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after being appointed governor of Ukraine's Odessa region.

As Odessa governor, the leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution spoke in interviews to global media about his ideas about bringing western style reforms to Ukraine and combating the entrenched corruption there, although after serving for 18 months, he resigned in November 2016 after a bitter confrontation with his one time friend and ally, President Poroshenko.

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Saakashvili, 49, is an adamantly pro-Western reformist who was swept to power in Georgia by the peaceful Rose Revolution protests of 2003 and served two terms as president in 2004-2013.

Saakashvili's supporters on July 26 called Poroshenko's action to strip Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship an "unconstitutional" reprisal for Saakashvili's criticisms.

In the post of Odessa governor, Saakashvili clashed with local elites and made harsh statements, including to Poroshenko's administration, accusing the president's team of corruption.

Prior to the confirmation, Saakashvili was defiant when asked on the possibility of losing Ukrainian citizenship by Novoye Vremya website.

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Mr Saakashvili automatically lost his Georgian citizenship when he was given the Ukrainian one.

A Ukrainian legislator from Poroshenko's faction in parliament, Serhiy Leshchenko, said, also on Facebook, that if Saakashvili seeks to return to Ukraine, he would face extradition to Georgia to face charges for alleged crimes that occurred during his presidency.

Saakashvili, who is now in NY, according to his representative Zoe Reyners, slammed the decision, saying in a Facebook post that "there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee".

Throughout his political career, Saakashivili, who studied to become a lawyer in America, has been positioning himself as a strong U.S. ally.

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"Their secret meeting lasted more than two hours and was nearly entirely about me", Saakashvili wrote.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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