Ukraine revokes citizenship of former Georgian PM Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili

Georgia's controversial former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier described the situation with stripping Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship as "a tragicomedy" testifying to "the moral qualities" of its participants on his Facebook page.

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".

Saakashvili said it was "cowardly" of Poroshenko to strip him of his citizenship when he was out of the country.

Saakashvili's party, 'Movement of New Forces, ' (MNF) said if correct, the withdrawal showed that Poroshenko had chosen "a path of anti-constitutional acts for the sake of the usurpation and retention of power at all costs". The same was stated by Saakashvili on his Facebook page, where he wrote that if Poroshenko accepted his extradition it would be the violation of Ukrainian and worldwide laws. He further said the extradition of Saakashvili, who faces several charges in Georgia, depends on the request from Georgia's Government.

However, he quit the governorship in November 2016 amidst a very public falling out with Poroshenko, whom he accused of stalling reforms by being too accommodating of the interests of the country's powerful oligarchs.

"Every day that I have had a Ukrainian.passport I have worked so that Ukraine could win and become a real European country", he said. Under Ukrainian law, only Ukrainian citizens can lead political parties or be elected to parliament.

Reformist lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem, who is not a member of MNF, condemned the decision to withdraw Saakashvili's citizenship. He lost his Georgian citizenship in 2015. In a Facebook post, Medvedev highlighted the way Poroshenko first granted, and then took away the Ukrainian citizenship to Saakashvili, eventually "agreeing to his extradition to Georgia".

Throughout his political career, Saakashivili, who studied to become a lawyer in America, has been positioning himself as a strong USA ally.



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