Georgian Ambassador in Kiev summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry amid arrest of Saakashvili
“In the media we saw the information about the arrest of Ukrainian citizen Mikhail Saakashvili. The Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine was invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide official information on the reasons and circumstances of such detention”, said the ministry’s press secretary Oleg Nikolenko.
A statement on the arrest of Saakashvili was also posted on Facebook by the press secretary of the President of Ukraine Sergei Nikiforov. According to him, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is concerned about the development of events in Georgia.
“We are closely following the information about the arrest of Mikhail Saakashvili, chairman of the executive committee of the National Council of Reforms of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is concerned about this news and the tone of statements made in Georgia regarding the possible development of the situation. Ukraine appeals to Georgia with a request to disclose all the circumstances and reasons for such a step against a citizen of Ukraine”, he wrote.
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Saakashvili served as president of Georgia for ten years and two terms. In 2013, after his National Movement party lost the elections and the second term of his rule ended, Saakashvili left the country and has not returned to his homeland since.
All these years he lived in Europe and the United States, then settled in Ukraine, where he was first a member of the team of ex-President Poroshenko and the governor of Odessa, and then joined the opposition.
In recent years, he has chaired the reform committee under President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Saakashvili is currently not a citizen of Georgia – he automatically lost his citizenship after receiving the Ukrainian one
Several criminal cases have been initiated against Saakashvili who is accused of abuse of power, embezzlement of budgetary funds, dispersal of the opposition rally in November 2007 and the persecution of the Imedi TV channel. Saakashvili is also involved in the beating of deputy Valery Gelashvili and the murder of Sandro Girgvliani.
Saakashvili has already been convicted on two counts. In one of the cases, he faces 6 years in prison. The Georgian authorities have repeatedly stated that the wanted ex-president will be arrested as soon as he returns home.
Speaking about his visit to Georgia, Saakashvili himself stressed that he was not afraid of arrest.
Georgia will elect its local government on October 2 but the opposition is calling the elections a referendum which will decide whether to hold early parliamentary elections and end the Georgian Dream’s nine-year rule in the country.