AFP-JijiSHEGYNI, Ukraine (AFP-Jiji) — Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and hundreds of his supporters forced their way into Ukraine on Sunday in a bid by the firebrand politician to reclaim his citizenship stripped by President Petro Poroshenko after they fell out.
Saakashvili says he wants to return to challenge that decision in court and get back into politics.
An AFP reporter saw the one-time regional Ukraine governor and his supporters enter from Poland’s Medyka border crossing, pushing aside Ukrainian border guards who had turned him back just hours earlier.
“They did it against all the rules, what’s happening here?” Saakashvili told reporters in Medyka when he was initially refused entry, adding: “We hope that we can still break through.”
At that point hundreds of his supporters chanting “Misha, Misha” — a diminutive of his name — forced their way into Ukraine with Saakashvili, who now risks extradition to his native Georgia.
Around 1,500 supporters marched with the exiled ex-Georgian leader on the Ukrainian side of the border before he hopped into a car bound for the western city of Lviv, where around 500 supporters greeted him on his arrival.
Saakashvili was then reported to be meeting with Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi late Sunday night.
The border-breach drew ire in Kiev, with the interior ministry saying that 11 policemen and five border guards had been injured in clashes with Saakashvili supporters, suggesting prison terms for those responsible.Speech