Ukraine is Investigating Mikheil Saakashvili for Illegal Entry Into the Country

Ex-Georgian president Saakashvili forces way into Ukraine

The former Georgian president was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship in July after falling out with Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, who in 2015 appointed Saakashvili as the governor of the Odessa region.

Later Sunday in Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, about 80 kilometers from the Polish border, Saakashvili said the border crossing took place "according to all legal procedures", and promised to defend anyone who accompanied him from threatened criminal charges. Two months ago, Poroshenko personally signed an order annulling Saakashvili's citizenship, though no official reason was made public. But Saakashvili quit as governor of Odessa last November, accusing Poroshenko of abetting corruption.

Saakashvili hurriedly left Georgia after his presidential term ended in 2013.

"We believe in the fact that Mikheil Saakashvili can lead our country out of the crisis", supporter Lyudmyla Goretska told France24.

"But instead, he committed a crime - because the state border must not be violated", Poroshenko said.

The return carries risks for Saakashvili, who is stateless.

Former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to stay in Ukraine to try to oust its "oligarchic" political elite, a day after forcing his way back into the country in what its president called a criminal act that must be punished.

Saakashvili said he wanted to return to Ukraine to contest Poroshenko's action stripping him of his citizenship while he was out of the country.

"I have a clear plan: to end theft from the economy; to end the power of the oligarchy; to end misuse of power", Mr Saakashvili said. Saakashvili was blocked from entering and protesters were arrested. According to the State Border Guard Service, 12 National Police fighters and 10 border guards sustained bodily injuries.

The revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship was met with criticism by some Ukrainian politicians with ex-Prime Minister and Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko believing that this move was another step toward dictatorship in Ukraine. Georgian authorities are seeking his extradition to face a range of charges of misappropriating property and abuse of office, RFE says.

Saakashvili divides opinion. Supporters see him as a fearless crusader against corruption but critics say there is little substance behind his blustery rhetoric.

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