Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia and former Governor of Odessa in Ukraine, plans to return to Ukraine via Poland on September 10, where he will be accompanied by members of the European Parliament, as well as journalists and supporters, Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV quoted him as saying.
The former President spoke to the television channel following his meeting with Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party, on the fringes of EPP’s Political Assembly in Copenhagen.
Mikheil Saakashvili told the journalist that the Ukrainian government “is doing everything possible to prevent” him from returning to Ukraine. “The border post has been reinforced, heavy armaments were deployed in the area, barbed wire fences were installed,” he said, adding that “this is an absolutely unprecedented development; there have never been similar reinforcements in eastern European borders of the Soviet Union during the Soviet period.”
“This only shows one thing, that they are afraid of me,” Saakashvili also said. “They are afraid because I have the political support in Ukraine, they are afraid because I have the fastest growing political ratings in Europe’s largest country and this is exactly why they have treated me unfairly.”
Responding to the journalist’s question on the possible denial of entry, MIkheil Saakashvili said it would be “hard” and “damaging” for the Ukrainian government not to allow him to the country. “Therefore, we will continue observing the situation. Now, my plan is first – to enter, to return, (and second –) to lead the [political] movement and bring the job to completion.”
“If they were able to extradite me [to Georgia], they would have revoked my citizenship when I was in Ukraine, [instead] they waited until I departed from the country and they hysterically do not want me to return,” Saakashvili added.
Saakashvili spoke on the political environments in Ukraine and Georgia as well, saying he is the leader of “the fastest growing” political party in Ukraine and that “the situation is rapidly changing in Georgia,” as well. “The oligarchs are our enemies everywhere and the oligarchs are weakening everywhere; neither the Georgian opposition nor the people who support me in Ukraine should lose this momentum,” he added.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stripped Mikheil Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26, less than three years after Saakashvili gave up his Georgian citizenship to serve as the governor of Odessa region in Ukraine. Saakashvili is wanted by Georgia on a number of criminal charges, which he denies as politically motivated.