Mikheil Saakashvili addressing his supporters, December 5, 2017. Photo: strana.ua
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was detained by the Ukrainian Security Service earlier today, was released from temporary custody by his supporters.
Saakashvili, who leads the Movement of New Forces party in Ukraine, was apprehended in his flat in Kyiv early morning on December 5 on charges of assisting criminal groups and covering up their activities, but ex-President’s activists who gathered outside the building surrounded the police minivan and hindered it from moving forward.
The confrontation between the activists and the security service officers continued for almost four hours, with Saakashvili’s supporters overwhelming the resistance and forcefully releasing him from detention.
Escorted by his supporters, Saakashvili then walked to the Ukrainian Rada, where he addressed an impromptu rally.
The former President spoke to the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV before the rally, thanking his family and supporters and pledging to put an end to “all oligarchs, all robbers and oppressors of the people both in Ukraine and Georgia.”
“These losers do not know who they are dealing with, I was born for victory together with the Georgian and the Ukrainian peoples. Look at how the Ukrainians supported me [today], look at their unimaginable heroism: they have confronted the national guard of Ukraine unarmed, the President’s personal guard, which detained me together with the security service,” Saakashvili noted.
In his remarks for the press, Saakashvili urged the residents of Kyiv to gather at the Ukrainian Rada and demand the resignation of the General prosecutor and the Security Service leadership. He also called for launching procedures for impeaching President Petro Poroshenko and his team.
“Either we unite now and peacefully avoid the revolution, through the Parliament, as it happened in 2004, when the Parliament made several important decisions… either we gather and force them to leave in peaceful manner, or they will separately crush us,” he said.
Saakashvili also spoke on charges brought against him, saying the accusations were “fake” in order to “get rid of a loud voice that is challenging” the authorities.
According to the Ukrainian Security Service, Mikheil Saakashvili was detained and charged under Article 256 § 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – assistance to members of criminal organizations and covering up of their criminal activity, which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to five years.