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Published On: Mon, Sep 11th, 2017

Saakashvili busts into Ukraine, arrives in Lvov

nsnbc : Former Georgian president and governor of Ukraine’s Odessa district, Mikhail Saakashvili, busted through the Polish – Ukrainian border, surrounded by hundreds of supporters. Saakashvili returned to Ukraine despite the fact that his Ukrainian passport was suspended by a decree signed by President Petro Poroshenko in July, and despite the fact that Georgia has asked for his extradition from Ukraine.

Saakashvili_Ukraine_Sep 2017Saakashvili muscled his way across the border, backed by hundreds of supporters, despite Ukrainian authorities – some say half-hearted – attempt to deny him entry citing invalid documents and a bomb threat at a border checkpoint.

It is disputed whether the “suspension” of Saakashvili’s passport in July made him legally or de-facto stateless. His passport was suspended while he was abroad and Saakashvili has since promised that he would return, no matter what. Saakashvili and legal counsel maintain that the “cancellation of his citizenship is illegal and unconstitutional”. If Saakashvili is considered a stateless person, he is a permanent resident of Ukraine under the law, and has the right to enter the country without a visa, his lawyers argue.

Under international law and Ukraine’s Administrative Law Code, Saakashvili has a right to dispute his loss of citizenship in court and take part in court hearings over the issue in Ukraine, his lawyers say. The Prosecutor General’s Office said it would open criminal cases into what it sees as the illegal crossing of the border by Saakashvili and his supporters.

This position was questioned by lawyers who maintained that it was only an administrative offense. Saakashvili’s lawyer Markiyan Halabala said that the crossing of the border “in cases of extreme necessity” was not illegal under Ukrainian law.

Saakashvili announced that he was going to try to enter Ukraine from Poland through the checkpoint Krakowiec on the country’s western border, some 630 kilometers west of the capital Kiev. His supporters set up camp near the checkpoint a day before, waiting for the arrival planned for September 10. Hundreds of people, both supporters and protesters, flocked to the border to await the entrance. Media who also flocked to the border expecting a spectacle and Saakashvili – no stranger to drama and use of media – did not disappoint them.

Earlier the Ukrainian border service said that its guards would have to take away Saakashvili’s Ukrainian passport and make him return to Poland if he indeed tried to enter Ukraine. However, Saakashvili changed plans several times. In the early afternoon it was announced that he will enter Ukraine by a train that runs from Przemysl to Kiev. Saakashvili boarded the train in Przemysl, Poland, with dozens of his supporters, including Ukrainian lawmakers. His son Nikoloz, 12, was travelling with him. His other supporters and the media relocated from Krakowiec to Mostyska, a Ukrainian checkpoint where the train stops for the documents check.

While Polish border guards let him in at the Shehyni checkpoint, their Ukrainian counterparts blocked him on neutral territory, reportedly saying they were alerted that the checkpoint was under a bomb threat. At 7:00 p.m. local time, after waiting for almost two hours, the Polish border checkpoint in Shehyni and waits to enter the Ukrainian checkpoint in a bus. Saakashvili and his supporters left the bus, broke the cordon and the ex-president entered Ukraine on foot. At 7:55 p.m. several hundred of Saakashvili supporters that were waiting for him on the Ukrainian side of the border broke through the  police line and headed into the gray zone to lead Saakashvili in.

By 8:00 Saakashvili walked towards the Ukrainian border, surrounded by his supporters. Five minutes later he had entered Ukrainian territory. sweeping past border guards with help of a cordon of supporters, walking along a highway, still surrounded by hundreds of his supporters. At about 9:00 p.m. while delivering his speech, Saakashvili was joined by Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Saakashvili announced he plans to arrange a meeting in Lvov to decide on his further movements. At 9:20 Saakashvili took a car, reportedly heading towards Lvov. Later that night Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said that 12 police officers and five border guards suffered injuries during Saakashvili’s forceful breakthrough into Ukraine.

When Poroshenko agreed to sign the document that suspended Saakashvili’s citizenship  he argued that the former Georgian president had submitted incorrect information when applying for citizenship in 2015. Saakashvili says that no proof of this has been provided and that the cancellation of his citizenship violates both Ukrainian and international law. Ukrainian authorities have so far refused to give Saakashvili documents on the loss of his citizenship, or specify the legal grounds for the cancellation.

Saakashvili’s lawyers argue that the cancellation of Saakashvili’s citizenship is illegal because it violates the Constitution and due process, and is politically motivated. Members of the Citizenship Commission who voted for canceling Saakashvili’s citizenship are also controversial. One of them, the Interior Ministry’s State Secretary Oleksiy Takhtai, negotiated a corrupt deal in a video with a person who has already been convicted for the deal. Saakashvili allegedly failed to state that he was wanted by authorities in Georgia. Considering that he entered Ukraine as ally of Poroshenko and was made Odessa governor, many believe that it is highly improbable that Poroshenko and Ukraine’s intelligence and immigration services hadn’t known about Saakashvili’s de-facto legal status in Georgia when he was granted Ukrainian citizenship. “Problems” for Saakashvili came first when he turned against Poroshenko.

CH/L – nsnbc 11.09.2017

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  1. Jim Scott says:

    This event has all the hallmarks of another CIA staged sideshow to get their puppet into Ukraine as the current leadership is losing support. I suspect some police palms have been crossed with silver and the a PR team has created the impression that Saakashvili is a popular man of the people.
    Am I being too cynical?

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