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Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili deported to Poland

February 12, 2018 5:18 PM
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Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili deported to Poland

Saakashvili stripped of Ukrainian citizenship last year, but forced his way back from Poland in September

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president turned opposition leader in Ukraine, was deported to Poland, Ukrainian officials said Monday.

Allies of Saakashvili said he was detained by armed men wearing masks at a Kiev restaurant and quickly driven to Kiev's airport.

Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian border guards, said on Facebook that the agency's personnel had to use force to counter Saakashvili's supporters at the airport.

Slobodyan cited earlier decisions by Ukrainian courts that ruled that Saakashvili was staying in the country illegally, and said he was deported to Poland.

Poland's border guards said in a communique on the agency's website that Saakashvili was admitted to Polish territory Monday on a request from Ukrainian immigration authorities. He was admitted as the spouse of a European Union citizen. Saakashvili's wife is Dutch.

Saakashvili was stripped of Ukrainian citizenship while he was abroad last year, but he forced his way back from Poland into Ukraine in September. Since then, he has led repeated protests against Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko.

Saakashvili, who was president from 2004 to 2013, left Georgia when his presidency ended and came to Ukraine as an ally of Poroshenko, who appointed him governor of the Odessa region. He resigned from that post in 2016 and harshly criticized Poroshenko for failing to stem the official corruption that has crippled the country.

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