Ukraine president criticizes Saakashvili for crossing border

Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili sits in a train going to Ukraine from Poland as he vows to reclaim his Ukrainian citizenship

Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and hundreds of his supporters forced their way into Ukraine on Sunday in a bid by the firebrand politician to reclaim his citizenship stripped by President Petro Poroshenko after they fell out. The Georgian authorities want him back so he can face charges of abuse of power and corruption, allegations that Saakashvili has dismissed as baseless and politically motivated.

Poroshenko's office said Saakashvili had failed to deliver change as governor, adding his Ukrainian citizenship was withdrawn because he allegedly put false information on his registration form.

Later on Sunday, Saakashvili posted videos of himself addressing supporters in Lviv, in western Ukraine. As Poroshenko has revoked that citizenship, Saakashvili is technically stateless, though he contends that the revocation is illegal because global law prohibits stripping the citizenship of a person who would then become stateless.

Back home in Georgia, he started out as an internationally praised reformer but later he was criticised for monopolising power and exerting pressure on the judiciary.

Saakashvili is also wanted in his homeland for alleged abuse of power during a tumultuous nine years as president that saw him fight and lose a brief war with Russian Federation in 2008. Even for those who publicly criticised Poroshenko for revoking Saakashvili's citizenship, the border episode was too much.

Poroshenko trails in the polls behind Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and leader of one of Ukraine's largest opposition parties. "This is very sad", Saakashvili said Friday in Warsaw. "She tries to use this situation with the hope that this will provoke a political crisis in Ukraine and lead to early elections".

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Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, ended up being the catalyst for a train from Poland to Ukraine being held up by Ukrainian guards at a checkpoint.

He claims to have UNHCR recognition as being "stateless" and wants to challenge his loss of citizenship inside Ukraine. According to him, he left his Ukrainian passport in a bus on the border with Ukraine, but then "the police came and stole it".

"Instead, a crime was committed", he said of Sunday's events at the border.

Some analysts say Mr Saakashvili is seeking to rouse supporters and eventually unseat Mr Poroshenko. I, as president, will surely comply with any court ruling.

"Now this is a matter of law enforcement agencies and they have begun to act", Poroshenko said. Saakashvili maintains that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva says he has the right to be in the country to appeal.

Also with Saakashvili was Mustafa Nayyem, who was active in protests in Ukraine in 2013-14 that drove then pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovych, out of the country. "We see what he did in his own country (Georgia) and that's enough for us".

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