Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his supporters managed to break through a cordon of Ukrainian border guards who blocked his way at the Shehyni border crossing and denied him entry into Ukraine.
Saakashvili moved forward for some time in a tight ring of escorts, after which he was given a car, NewsOne reports. The politician himself said that he was heading for Lviv.
Ukrainian MP Yuriy Derevyanko commented that after the cordon had been broken, the law enforcement officials moved aside and did not interfere. Oleh Slobodyan, assistant to the chief of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGS), wrote on Facebook that a scuffle had begun at the border crossing point. “Right now it’s hard to predict what the consequences of this situation will be,” he added. In the footage from the scene, it is clear that the crowd pressure was being held back by police officers. Border guards were standing beside them in scattered groups. According to various sources, Saakashvili’s supporters in Shehyni number between 700 and 1000.
Earlier, the SBGS blocked passage through the Shehyni border crossing. “There are special forces in Soviet outfits standing in front of us,” Saakashvili said.
The SBGS classified the events at Shehyni as an “illegal violation of the state border by a group of people”. According to official data, 12 police officers and border guards were injured.
The SBGS commented that a statement on the incident was being prepared for the prosecutor general’s office. There were at least four kinds of offenses: an illegal attack on a control facility, illegally crossing the state borer, violation of international agreements and causing bodily injuries, the department explained.
Chief of National Police Serhiy Knyazev warned that his department intends to bring Saakashvili’s supporters to administrative accountability for violating proper order at the border crossing. Knyazev did not answer whether the former Georgian president himself would be arrested, calling the question “provocative”.
According to the TV channel 112 Ukraine, the former governor of Odessa has been added to the database of the Ukrainian website Myrotvorets.
Vladimir Sheremet, assistant to the chief of the SBGS western regional office, told Interfax-Ukraine earlier that Shehyni had been closed in connection with a report about mines. According to Ukrainian diplomat Markiyan Lubkivsky, the relevant information came from the Security Service of Ukraine.
Earlier Polish border guard officials let Saakashvili through the border crossing in Medyka. Until this time, Mikheil Saakashvili together with his wife and 11 year-old son had been trying to enter Ukraine on a train. However, the politician’s group was not allowed to proceed from Polish Przemyśl.