Ukraine Bans Saakashvili Until 2021

Mikheil Saakashvili stands in front of the Immigration and Naturalization offices in Rotterdam after his arrival in the Netherlands on February 14.


Ukraine’s border service has banned Mikheil Saakashvili from entering Ukraine for three years, days after he was expelled from the country.

Saakashvili on February 21 posted on Facebook a document from the border service that said his entry ban runs until February 13, 2021.

Ukrainian border-service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan confirmed that Saakashvili was banned on the orders of the commander in charge of the Ukrainian border section he crossed in September 2017, eluding a blockade.

Saakashvili responded defiantly to the ban, writing on Facebook, “With or without me, the end has already come for these authorities, and I will return home to Ukraine very soon now, much, much sooner than in three years.”

Saakashvili, 50, was drafted in 2015 by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to head the Odesa region. But he fell afoul of his friend over corruption allegations and calls for reform and was stripped of his citizenship in July 2017.

After beginning an opposition campaign to Poroshenko, Saakashvili was detained at a Kyiv restaurant on February 12, taken to the airport, and flown to Poland, the country from which he returned to Ukraine in September.

He eventually flew to the Netherlands, his wife’s home country, and vowed to continue his battle to topple Poroshenko.

Ukrainian authorities have accused Saakashvili of abetting an alleged “criminal group” led by Viktor Yanukovych, the Moscow-friendly former president who fled the country in 2014 amid massive protests known as the Euromaidan.

The authorities also alleged that the street protests he led are part of a Russian plot against the government in Kyiv.

Saakashvili has denied all the charges, calling them “absurd” and politically motivated.

Saakashvili was also the president of Georgia from 2004-2013 and is wanted there after being convicted of abuse of power in connection with a 2006 murder case. He has been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison.

He also denies charges of wrongdoing in Georgia.

With reporting by AFP and UNIAN

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