On June 11, the Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukrainian Ambassador Igor Dolgov over comments made by former President Mikheil Saakashvili – who currently holds office in Ukraine – saying that “he will be at the forefront of bringing down Georgian Dream’s government.”
Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani maintained that Saakashvili’s remarks amounted to meddling in Georgia’s domestic affairs by an official representing a foreign country – “a strategic partner of Georgia.”
“We have warned our Ukrainian counterparts against tapping a person – wanted by Georgian law enforcement and convicted for four independent cases – for a high-profile position,” Georgia’s chief diplomat stated.
“Saakashvili is not an official figure in Ukraine and does not represent the Ukrainian executive,” Ambassador Dolgov told reporters after a hour-long meeting in the Ministry. The Ukrainian envoy highlighted that although “Saakashvili is not a Georgian national, he is Georgian in spirit and shall never cease to be a Georgian.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed former Georgian President as the head of the Executive Reform Committee on May 7. Prior to that, he put forward Saakashvili’s name as a candidate for vice-premiership in Ukraine’s Cabinet – a proposal that failed to gain Ukrainian lawmakers’ endorsement.
Saakashvili’s appointment has prompted discontent in Tbilisi, as the Government recalled Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine “for consultations.” Georgian opposition figures slammed the move as “politically biased,” calling on the Government not to put bilateral relations at stake.