Saakashvili to look for legitimate way to return to Ukraine


Camouflage-clad Ukrainian border officers have detained the country's opposition leader in a restaurant and deported him to Poland.

Reuters quotesUkrainian border service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan's Facebook post, saying: "This person was on Ukrainian territory illegally and therefore, in compliance with all legal procedures, he was returned to the country from where he arrived". "I will certainly return to Ukraine".

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told reporters on Tuesday he would not seek asylum in Poland after being expelled from Ukraine.

Polish border guards said earlier that Poland had let Saakashvili enter.

"Saakashvili was handed over to Poland consistent with the bilateral readmission agreement", the ministry said.

The 49-year-old, who accuses the Ukrainian authorities of widespread corruption, may face extradition after his appeal for protection was rejected by a Kiev court on February 5.

Saakashvili has campaigned feverishly for the impeachment of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko since resigning his position of governor of Odessa, citing corruption at the top levels of the Ukrainian government.

Kantaria also said Tbilisi has nothing to do with the ex-President's deportation to Poland, adding no one is afraid of Saakashvili in Georgia, as the opposition used to claim. On February 5, his appeal against that decision was also rejected.

In turn, Saakashvili commented on his Facebook page that the Ukrainian criminal case against him was a "complete lie". Saakashvili resigned from his post in November 2016 and became a vocal anti-government activist, which later led Poroshenko to strip Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship while he was overseas. His Ukrainian passport was revoked in July 2017, leaving him stateless. Saakashvili called the charges absurd and politically motivated.

Georgian officials said they may ask Poland to extradite Mr Saakashvili, who was sentenced in absentia in his homeland last month to three years in jail, for abuse of power during nearly a decade as president.

But he told Current Time that "Georgian authorities absolutely do not want me [to be extradited to Georgia], because as soon as I am back to Georgia they will be toppled".