Ukraine strips Georgia’s ex-leader of citizenship

Kiev: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday he has stripped former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (pictured) of his Ukrainian citizenship, paving the way for his possible extradition to Georgia.
The charismatic reformer came to power in Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution but then fell from grace and is now wanted by Georgian prosecutors on charges of abuse of office during his nine-year rule that he insists are politically motivated.
In a statement sent to AFP, Saakashvili vowed: “I will fight for my legal right to return to Ukraine!”
Poroshenko’s administration sent a statement on Thursday confirming the president had signed a decree revoking Saakashvili’s citizenship, saying this was for “giving incorrect information when he submitted his application.”
Poroshenko “signed the relevant decree” on the recommendation of the state migration service which provided “convincing evidence,” the statement said.
Saakashvili does not have any other citizenship since Georgia took away his passport in December 2015, after he acquired Ukrainian citizenship to become a governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.
Georgia’s leadership has not yet commented publicly on Poroshenko’s decision.
Saakashvili, who is currently in New York, according to his representative Zoe Reyners, slammed the decision, saying in a Facebook post that “there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee.”
The decision was first announced late on Wednesday in an indirectly worded statement by the Ukrainian migration service. — AFP