Ukraine revokes citizenship of former Georgian PM Saakashvili

  • Ukraine revokes citizenship of former Georgian PM Saakashvili

Ukraine revokes citizenship of former Georgian PM Saakashvili

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a decree stripping Mikheil Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship, Ukraine's State Migration Service reported on July 26.

"Saakashvili could be given Lithuania's residence permit".

The press service of the ex-Georgian president's party, Movement of New Forces, told RIA-Novosti that Saakashvili is now in the US.

The official added that provision of Lithuania's citizenship could not be ruled out despite certain legal difficulties.

Yarema Dukh, a spokesman for Ukraine's presidential office, told the Kyiv Post that Poroshenko signed a decree revoking Saakashvili's citizenship after being told he gave insufficient information while applying for a Ukrainian passport in 2015. Meanwhile, Mr Saakashvili posted a video on his Facebook page, saying that he was "being subjected to the same approaches that are used by Ukraine's prosecutors or bureaucrats against regular Ukrainians, whose rights are spat upon" "I have only one citizenship, that of Ukraine, and I will not be deprived of it!"

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".

Poroshenko saw him at that time as an ally, but Saakashvili resigned the post previous year, complaining of official obstruction of his anticorruption efforts.

During his visit to Georgia last week, President Poroshenko said he did not know that Georgia had already twice requested the extradition of its former president.

Poroshenko's administration did not immediately comment on the decision to strip Saakashvili of his citizenship. He lost his Georgian citizenship in 2015.

"Saakashvili can not physically come back to Ukraine because he will be arrested in Boryspil when he arrives and will be immediately extradited to Georgia", he said. The ex-Georgian president, who is wanted at home, lashed out at Poroshenko's "oligarchic regime".

When he resigned his governorship in November, Saakashvili complained that his anti-corruption efforts were being sabotaged, and openly accused Poroshenko of dishonesty.

Although Poroshenko gave no explanation for the decision, Leshchenko said it was created to force Saakashvili "to take an asylum in America and forget about Ukrainian politics".

But Haran, from Kyiv University's Mohyla Academy, said that Saakashvili's Movement of New Forces party, set up past year after he quit his governor's post, is now polling about 1.8 percent in a nationwide survey taken by the Ukrainian-based Democratic Initiative Foundation.