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Former Georgian leader Saakashvili breaks border blockade to enter Ukraine

Former Georgian leader Saakashvili breaks border blockade to enter Ukraine

Ukrainian citizenship of Saakashvili was taken away by order of President Petro Poroshenko.

Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia and a former governor of a Ukrainian region, returned to Ukraine on Sunday, reportedly in an attempt to challenge the decision to rescind his Ukrainian citizenship.

Mr Poroshenko vowed to punish those responsible for Mr Saakashvili's breach of the border, while observers said they feared the ugly political spat would hit Ukraine's global image. He also accepted Ukrainian citizenship, and in the process renounced his Georgian citizenship. The Georgian authorities want him back so he can face charges of abuse of power and corruption, allegations that Saakashvili has dismissed as baseless and politically motivated.

"It does not matter who violates the state border - invaders in the East or politicians in the West".

According to Ukrainian authorities, 11 police officers and five border guards received minor injuries during clashes with Saakashvili's supporters. According to Groysman, Saakashvili committed an "attack on Ukrainian statehood".

The former Georgian president, who was charged with several crimes, was granted Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being revoked.

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Saakashvili said he would travel to all regions of Ukraine to unite "different political forces around a common theme that we must have a democracy and we should not let oligarchs hold sway". He said that he was not under investigation in Ukraine or overseas, while in fact he was being investigated in Georgia for various charges.

"I came with my Ukrainian passport, I wanted to show my passport and make a statement", a triumphant Saakashvili told supporters after crossing.

At that point hundreds of his supporters chanting "Misha, Misha" - a diminutive of his name - forced their way into Ukraine with Saakashvili, who now risks extradition to his native Georgia. "This is a matter of national security", Poroshenko said.

Saakashvili was stripped of his citizenship in July.

"I hope [Saakashvili] will be just as eager to go to Georgia as he was to get into Ukraine", Poroshenko added, an allusion to criminal charges the pro-Russian government in Tbilisi has leveled against him at home. He eventually got off the train and took a bus to Medyka, where he successfully crossed the border.

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