Supporters free ex-Georgia president from Ukraine police

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 5, 2017 at 1:24 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
1 of 2

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was freed Tuesday by his supporters from Ukrainian police in Kiev.

Ukrainian security forces dragged him off his apartment roof and detained him, according to a report by RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty.

But in a standoff with police in riot gear and with pepper spray, several hundred protesters blocked the streets and then pulled Saakashvili from the van.

Saakashvili, 49, then urged the crowd to defy Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"I urge you to start a peaceful protest to remove Poroshenko. You should not be afraid," he said through a loudspeaker.

According to Ukrainian media reports, he was arrested for allegedly plotting against the Ukrainian authorities with the help of allies financed by exiled former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Saakashvili, who was president for 10 years, left Georgia in 2013 to accept a teaching engagement in the United States.

He is wanted on corruption charges in Georgia and faces extradition.

Saakashvili became a citizen of Ukraine in 2015 and served as governor of the Odessa province.

He was first aligned with Poroshenko, but later became an opponent of the Ukrainian president and subsequently lost his citizenship. Saakashvili's supporters helped him reenter the country in a confrontation with police at the Polish border.

Last weekend, he was involved in an anti-government rally on Kiev's main Independence Square.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories