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Ukraine Summons Georgian Ambassador Over Saakashvili’s Detention

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has summoned Georgian Ambassador in Kyiv over the detention of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, said Oleg Nikolenko, Ukrainian MFA spokesperson.

Nikolenko tweeted late on October 1 that Ukrainian MFA expects from Georgian diplomat “to receive official information on the grounds and circumstances of such detention.”

Saakashvili, a Ukrainian citizen, has been serving as the chairman of the Executive Reform Committee of Ukraine, since his appointment to the post by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in May 2020.

The appointment then led to a year-long hiatus between the relations of Kyiv and Tbilisi. The relations have been continuously warming since April 2021 between the two countries, however.

Zelenskyy Concerned

Sergii Nykyforov, President Zelenskyy’s press secretary wrote on Facebook that the Ukrainian President “is concerned about the news and the tone of statements bursting in Georgia about the possible development of the situation.”

Nykyforov said Ukraine addresses the Georgian side “to clarify all circumstances and reasons for such a step relative to the Ukrainian citizen.”

He added that the Embassy of Ukraine in Tbilisi has not yet received official information about Saakashvili’s detention.

Charges Against Saakashvili

Former Georgian President has been been arrested in Tbilisi on the evening of October 1, few hours after he announced on Facebook his return to the homeland for October 2 local elections. He now faces six years of prison.

Saakashvili, who left the country in November 2013 amidst the end of his second presidential term, was wanted by the Georgian Dream government on multiple charges.

He was sentenced in absentia in 2018 on two separate abuse of power charges – three years for pardoning the former Interior Ministry officials, convicted in the high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani and six years for organizing an attack on opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili

He is also charged with misappropriation of public funds and exceeding official authority in the 2007 anti-government protests case. Former President denies all the charges as politically motivated.

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This article was updated with the comment by Sergii Nykyforov, President Zelenskyy’s press secretary on 00:37 of October 2, 2021.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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