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12 September 2017, 12:33 | Nina Hammond
Former Georgian President Breaks Through Ukrainian Checkpoint After He Was Refused Entry by Train
Georgia on December 4 stripped former leader and reformer Mikheil Saakashvili of his citizenship as he had acquired a Ukrainian passport to serve as governor of the strategic Odessa region.
Earlier on Sunday, Saakashvili had boarded a train in Poland heading for Ukraine, before the train was stopped by guards before the Ukrainian border.
However, the two men fell out, and Saakashvili resigned in November 2016, blaming Poroshenko for corruption in the country and stating that he meant to form his own political movement.
Supporters who accompanied him to the crossing point included former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Mustafa Nayyem, a lawmaker who was a key figure in the 2013-14 protests that drove Russia-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych out of the country.
"But instead, he committed a crime - because the state border must not be violated", Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said 17 police and border guards were injured in the confrontation.
The failure to stop Mr Saakashvili from returning was an embarrassment for Kiev and another headache for a leader fighting a Russian-backed insurgency and trying to restart a struggling economy.
Speaking to reporters in the western city of Lviv later Monday, Saakashvili rejected the accusations, saying that stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship "was the crime".
"We see what he did in his own country and that's enough for us", said Lyudmyla Goretska while waiting at Krakovets on Ukraine's side of the border with Poland.
Kiev could leave Saakashvili alone or arrest him and possibly extradite him to Georgia, where the 49-year-old is wanted on criminal charges, which he says are politically motivated. According to the border police, 12 policemen and five border guards suffered in clashes with guards of Saakashvili.
The stateless Saakashvili had initially meant to travel through the Krakovets border crossing where hundreds of supporters of his Movement of the New Forces party had gathered.
Kiev justified the move by claiming that Saakashvili had provided "inaccurate information" in his citizenship application. He then traveled by bus to the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing, where he was allowed to pass through a Polish checkpoint on the border with Ukraine, but then temporarily blocked from reaching the Ukrainian checkpoint by a line of border guards standing arm-in-arm.
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