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Protesters Rush Mikheil Saakashvili Through Polish-Ukrainian Border Crossing

Protesters Rush Mikheil Saakashvili Through Polish-Ukrainian Border Crossing”

On July 26, 2017, while Saakashvili was in the United States, Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and later a Ukrainian citizen, crossed from Poland into Ukraine in a crowd of his supporters Sunday.

Later Sunday in Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, about 80 kilometers from the Polish border, Saakashvili said the border crossing took place "according to all legal procedures", and promised to defend anyone who accompanied him from threatened criminal charges.

Saakashvili, also an ex-governor of Odessa, was banned from entering Ukraine after falling out with the country's president.

The State Migration Service has said that Saakashvili had submitted incorrect information when he applied for citizenship in 2015. "A crime was committed instead", he said.

Ukrainian officials say he entered illegally, and 16 border guards and National guardsmen were injured.

The failure to stop Mr Saakashvili from returning was an embarrassment for Kiev and another headache for a leader fighting a Russian-backed insurgency and trying to restart a struggling economy.

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Saakashvili claims the President of Ukraine wants to get rid of a political opponent, adding it was illegal to strip him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

But Saakashvili, surrounded by a crowd of supporters, broke through the line before proceeding toward the small town of Shehyni on foot amid shouts of "victory" and "glory to Ukraine".

An RFE/RL correspondent at the border reports that Ukrainian police on September 10 detained about 40 Ukrainian men wearing camouflage military uniforms who allegedly were "hired" to disrupt events marking Saakashvili's attempted return.

Before crossing the border, Saakashvili has explained stis difficulty by the fact that Kiev "panic", saying that he wanted "not to overthrow the president Porochenko" objective just to defend sti rights. "When people brought me to Ukraine on their hands, I left my passport on the bus".

The Georgian prosecutor's office repeatedly called for Kiev to extradite Saakashvili, but the Ukrainian side rejected the appeals at least twice.

Saakashvili had planned on taking an afternoon train from the southeastern Polish city of Przemyśl to Kyiv, but an onboard announcement said the train would not leave the station while carrying "a person who is not allowed entry to Ukraine".



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