Former Georgian president Saakashvili forces his way into Ukraine

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Later Sunday in Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, about 80 kilometers from the Polish border, Saakashvili said the border crossing took place "according to all legal procedures", and promised to defend anyone who accompanied him from threatened criminal charges.

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. In this regard, Poroshenko gave him a present by revoking his Ukrainian citizenship and by this promoting him to a victim of the "regime".

"We believe in the fact that Mikheil Saakashvili can lead our country out of the crisis", supporter Lyudmyla Goretska told France24. But while perhaps not a threat as a direct rival, Saakashvili could prove to be an effective weapon against Poroshenko for powerful opposition figures like Yulia Tymoshenko, who was with him at the border on Sunday.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into Sunday's incident, while General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said those who crossed the border illegally would be prosecuted.


"A crime has been committed", Mr Poroshenko said earlier on Monday. "There are children here, there are ordinary Ukrainian citizens who want to get home". This was savage: the crowd of people running to the border line, clashing with border guards, Saakashvili pushing his way through the line of soldiers and falling into arms of a cheerful crowd.

Ukraine's migration service said the president takes decisions on who is stripped of Ukrainian citizenship based on the conclusions of the citizenship commission.

But a crowd of supporters, who chanted "Misha, Misha" - a diminutive of his name - forced their way into Ukraine with Saakashvili, who now risks extradition to his native Georgia. 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. I, as president, will surely comply with any court ruling. The Ukrainian president noted that this was not a political case, rather "this issue was within the competence of law enforcement agencies". They definitely underestimated him and how far he can go and, therefore, didn't prepare a plan to handle a scenario of Saakashvili's return to Ukraine. "We see what he did in his own country (Georgia) and that's enough for us".

When irresponsible politicians play with rules instead of following them, the one who ends up paying is the country itself.

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