Former Odessa province governor Mikheil Saakashvili only has a Ukrainian passport and intends to have his citizenship restored “in court and through the streets,” said Saakashvili’s press representative Darina Chizh.
According to her, the politician’s attorneys are already “working on this” and are preparing documents in order to appeal the Ukrainian president’s decree to revoke Saakashvili’s citizenship. “People have already started to go to the streets [in support of Saakashvili],” she observed.
Saakashvili is currently in the US, his associate Oleksandr Borovik, former deputy governor of Odessa, told RBC. “Saakashvili himself is in America, and he was clearly taken by surprise,” he said.
According to Chizh, Saakashvili will soon return to Ukraine. “He is a Ukrainian citizen and is not going anywhere from there,” she added, responding to a question on whether the politician would ask for asylum in any other country if he was not able to reacquire Ukrainian citizenship.
On July 26, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree to revoke Mikheil Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship. The press service of the State Migration Service reported that Saakashvili “deliberately provided” false information about himself. According to the publication Ukrainskaya Pravda, this could relate to the fact that Saakashvili concealed information relating to his court case in Georgia for misuse of state funds.
Earlier there was a protest outside the Presidential Administration Building organized by Sakashvili’s “New Forces Movement” party, during which protesters clashed with police.
Olha Halabala, a member of the New Forces Movement party, explained that the protesters had gathered in order to express their outrage at Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship being revoked. “We are gathered today not to rally but to share our thoughts and plan further actions,” she emphasized.
According to the TV channel 112 Ukraine, roughly 200 people took part in the rally in support of Mikheil Saakashvili.
Saakashvili himself said that Petro Poroshenko would not manage to revoke his citizenship, and promised to fight for the ability to return to Ukraine. According to him, they want to “force” him to take on refugee status, but he intends to acquire the “legal right” to return to Ukraine.
“I have been living in Ukraine for more than 13 years, I have taken part in three revolutions: the ‘Revolution on Granite’ [student protest action in Kyiv in 1990] and the two Maidans. I have only one citizenship – Ukrainian, and he will not succeed in taking it away from me,” Saakashvili said (as cited by 112 Ukraine).