Ex-President Saakashvili pledges to tour Ukraine

DW Life Links- #prideandprejudice EINSCHRÄNKUNG

DW Life Links- #prideandprejudice EINSCHRÄNKUNG

The Georgian ex-president and one-time regional governor in Ukraine said he was swept over the border into Ukraine by crowds, angry that the crossing was closed.

At present it seems unlikely that Saakashvili, who studied in Ukraine and speaks fluent Ukrainian, will come to power.

"In an interview with The Associated Press at his hotel Monday night, Saakashvili called the current situation in Ukraine "tragic" and said he would devote himself to helping to create a "new political class for an emerging Ukraine," wrote AP. Ukraine is fed up with old corrupt political class.

Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship in July, making him stateless. He was president at the time of a disastrous five-day war with Russian Federation in 2008, a conflict that his critics argued was the result of his own miscalculations. "This is very sad", Saakashvili said Friday in Warsaw. But while perhaps not a threat as a direct rival, Saakashvili could prove to be an effective weapon against Poroshenko for powerful opposition figures like Yulia Tymoshenko, who was with him at the border on Sunday.

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Their relationship dates back almost three decades to when they were students at the same university in Kiev and their shared opposition to the Russian government brought them together as politicians.

Saakashvili denies the accusations branding them a political witch hunt. It left him effectively stateless as he previously lost his Georgian citizenship because of the country's rules about dual nationality.

At that point hundreds of his supporters chanting "Misha, Misha" - a diminutive of his name - forced their way into Poland from Ukraine and marched back along with Saakashvili, who now risks extradition to his native Georgia.

Mr Poroshenko has said he committed a crime by entering the country. Saakashvili was ordered to appear at a court hearing on Monday.

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"Now this is a matter of law enforcement agencies and they have begun to act", Poroshenko said.

Ukraine's record of implementing reforms has been patchy since Poroshenko took office in 2014. Saakashvili told reporters in Medyka when he was initially refused entry, adding: "We hope that we can still break through".

Saakashvili may yet face arrest.

Another supporter, Maria, 49, who declined to give her surname, said she believes "Saakashvili is the future president" of Ukraine and "will finish the war" with Russian Federation.

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"Everything will be around the children, I haven't worked for over a year now because they needed me home", she said. On how she makes decisions now: "Everything will be around the children".

Tbilisi on Tuesday asked Kiev to extradite Saakashvili to face charges of misappropriation of property and abuse of office among others.

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