Poroshenko Strips Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili of Ukrainian Citizenship
19:11 26.07.2017(updated 21:42 26.07.2017)
President Petro Poroshenko has issued a decree on revoking Ukrainian citizenship of the former leader of Georgia, ex-governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukraine's State Migration Service said on Wednesday.
KIEV (Sputnik) – Saakashvili resigned from the position of the Odessa region governor on November 7, 2016, citing Kiev's reluctance to fight corruption as the reason for his resignation and accusing the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of protecting the criminals.
"The President of Ukraine has issued a decree on stripping [Saakashvili] of Ukrainian citizenship… Materials on Saakashvili, provided by the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine, processed by the State Migration Service of Ukraine, and sent to the Commission on Citizenship under the President of Ukraine, were considered in due course at a meeting of the commission," the service said in a statement posted on its website.
Saakashvili, a fugitive from prosecution in his homeland Georgia, was granted Ukrainian citizenship and appointed the governor of the Odessa Region in 2015.
He served as Georgia's president between 2004 and 2013. Saakashvili left Georgia after incumbent president Giorgi Margvelashvili took the office in November 2013. In July, the prosecutor's office in Georgia pressed several criminal charges against the ex-president, particularly accusing him of embezzling $5 million form state coffers for personal purposes.
On Tuesday, Saakashvili said he was in the United States in a Facebook post. Later, Saakashvili's "Movement of New Forces" party of Ukraine confirmed this information. The former Georgian leader cannot return to Ukraine, as he would be immediately sent to Georgia as a non-Ukranian citizen, Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity member and lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko said earlier on Wednesday.
The revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship was met with criticism by some Ukrainian politicians with ex-Prime Minister and Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko believing that this move was another step toward dictatorship in Ukraine.
The Georgian prosecutor's office repeatedly called for Kiev to extradite Saakashvili, but the Ukrainian side rejected the appeals at least twice. In 2015, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship due to receiving a Ukrainian passport.
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