28 May 2019 18:04

Saakashvili may return to Ukraine on Wednesday

KYIV. May 28 (Interfax) - Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-Georgian president and former head of the Odesa regional administration, whose Ukrainian citizenship has been restored, may return to Ukraine on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 29, an Interfax source said.

Interfax was informed that Saakashvili is planning to arrive in Ukraine the day following incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's decision to revoke fifth and former president Petro Poroshenko's decision to deprive Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship.

As reported, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree revoking Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship in July 2017, while the former Georgian president was in the United States.

On September 10, 2018, Saakashvili crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border backed by his supporters, inciting a clash with border guards and law enforcement officers. On September 22, 2018, the Mostyska District Court in the Lviv region found Saakashvili guilty of illegally crossing Ukraine's state border.

Saakashvili was detained on February 12 of this year in downtown Kyiv near the office of his party Movement of New Forces, taken to Boryspil Airport, and sent to Poland. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that in accordance with court rulings in force, Saakashvili had been in Ukraine illegally and, therefore, "in compliance with all legal formalities" he "was returned to the country of his arrival due to violation of domestic legislation."

Saakshvili's lawyer Ruslan Chornolutskyi handed Saakashvili's letter with a request to reinstate his Ukrainian citizenship over to the administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on May 22. Saakashvili pointed out that if Zelensky had any doubts on whether it was appropriate to reinstate his citizenship, the president could order the head of the State Border Service to lift the ban on his entry to Ukraine so that he would defend his rights at court.

Zelensky overturned Poroshenko's decision to revoke Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship on May 28.

"The Ukrainian president's decree No. 196 of July 26, 2017 [...] shall be amended to exclude the provision on the loss of Ukrainian citizenship by Mikheil Saakashvili," Zelensky's decree posted on the presidential website said.