Former Georgian Leader, Ukraine President Face Off in Charged Political Standoff

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Saakashvili Says He Wants To Unite Opposition In Ukraine

13 September, 2017

"We agree with global experts that the manhunt on journalists and the hate campaign against the mass media and opposition politicians, criminal prosecution for their implementing the right of opinion and its free expression, the closure of unwanted companies, including media groups, the unwillingness to ensure minorities rights for peaceful gatherings are incompatible with the basic principles of a democratic state.".

The narrative Saakashvili is putting out is that Poroshenko and his government is corrupt, oligarchs are shooting for just an image of Reform, and his new party is the vehicle to bring real change to Ukraine.

The headstrong and divisive Mr Saakashvili poses a challenge to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who once was his patron but revoked his Ukrainian citizenship in July. "This is very sad", Saakashvili said Friday in Warsaw. She now is ahead of Poroshenko in public opinion polls, Reuters reported.

Reformist lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem, one of the faces of the Maidan protests and a member of Poroshenko's faction in parliament, traveled with Saakashvili on Sunday and accused the Kiev authorities of trying to silence opponents.

"We didn't want this country when we stayed on Maidan", Reuters quoted Nayyem as saying. The 49-year-old is now wanted on criminal charges in Georgia, which he says were trumped up for political reasons.

Saakashvili's own popularity ratings in the polls are low, with under two percent of Ukrainians viewing him favorably. It left him effectively stateless as he previously lost his Georgian citizenship because of the country's rules about dual nationality. He said Saakashvili should have contested the decree stripping him of Ukrainian citizenship in court if he disagreed with it.

"This morning my lawyer delivered to the Ukrainian migration service my application for protection from Ukrainian authorities", Saakashvili said. Eleven police officers were injured during the security operation near a border crossing checkpoint, according to the statement. Surrounded by supporters, he broke through a cordon of Ukrainian border guards in chaotic scenes at the Ukraine-Poland border Sunday.

Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said late on September 10 that charges also would be pursued against the organizers of Saakashvili's unauthorized entry.

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin wrote on Twitter earlier this week that the law will not hamper the free development of languages other than Ukrainian.

If found guilty, Saakashvili will face fine ranging from 3,400 to 8,500 hryvnia.

Like many legal experts, Garan says the revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship may be justified legally.

At present it seems unlikely that Saakashvili, who studied in Ukraine and speaks fluent Ukrainian, will come to power. Saakashvili says the decision was politically motivated.

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