Ex-Georgia leader Mikheil Saakashvili arrested in Kiev

Saakashvili calls for protest camp in Ukraine's capital

Saakashvili told his supporters that he would "lay down his life for the freedom of Ukraine" and called on the protesters to follow him to the parliament.

By the time officers had wrangled the former Georgian president and pushed him into the van waiting to transport him to jail, a large, restive crowd was waiting for them, too. In Georgia, Saakashvili faces charges of corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement.

Saakashvili, 49, had been arrested on suspicion of assisting a criminal organisation, which carries a five-year jail sentence.

Prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko said at a briefing that Mr Saakashvili received $500,000 to hold protests from an associate of former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled amid mass street demonstrations in 2014.

The demarche ended after a squad of intelligence service officers dragged the ex-president away from the edge of the roof. What began as a popular tenure, though, ran aground on a brief, disastrous border war with Russian Federation in 2008 and increasing fears of an authoritarian streak in Saakashvili. When asked what exactly Saakashvili is wanted for, Lutsenko reportedly said that - wait for it - "pro-Kremlin forces" led by Saakashvili himself were attempting to organize a coup in Ukraine.

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Saakashvili had been appointed by Poroshenko, an old friend, to help energize and transform Odessa in 2015, but by the end of the next year the relationship had ruptured and Saakashvili stepped down, vowing to oppose his former partner.

Mr Poroshenko revoked Mr Saakashvili's citizenship in July while he was out of the country.

Ukraine's Chief Prosecutor's staff and security forces have been searching Saakashvili's accommodation since this morning in the capital of Ukraine. Of course, this is Ukraine's headache. Still, Peskov added, "you wouldn't want to wish that guy on your worst enemy".

Georgia's Chief Prosecutor's Office commented on the detention.

As the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reports, Lutsenko said authorities have "uncovered, made public and, I am sure, will punish the criminal actions of those who seek to destroy Ukraine for Moscow money".

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