13:41 GMT +316 December 2018
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    Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has reportedly met a group of former Georgian soldiers involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine

    Saakashvili Greets Suspected Georgian Mercenaries Fighting in Ukraine

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    Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has reportedly met a group of former Georgian soldiers involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine; the apparent anti-Russian action came amid Easter festivities in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

    The former Georgian President turned Ukrainian Presidential aide met a group of former Georgian soldiers involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine; Mikhail Saakashvili praised them for their faithfulness to the "allied country," presented the soldiers with Easter gifts, and then prayed with them in the Kiev Church of the Nativity of Christ "for the victory of Ukraine in the war with Russia," according to the Russian daily Kommersant.

    Saakashvili is currently the chairman of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s International Advisory Council on Reforms.

    Taking part in the Sunday meeting were about thirty suspected Georgian mercenaries from the Azov and Donbass battalions, as well as a group of instructors from the Patriot training center.

    Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass
    © Sputnik / Evgeny Kotenko
    Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass

    They included Gigi Kalandadze, former Chief of Staff of the Georgian armed forces, who, along with the  others, allegedly freely resigned from the Georgian army in order to fight in Ukraine, according to Saakashvili.

    He stressed that the thirty are fighting in Donbass so as "to protect not only the honor of Ukraine, but also that of their own country." He added that some of them "were persecuted in Georgia."

    Saakashvili has repeatedly urged the former and current Georgian servicemen "to come to war for Ukraine and Georgia.

    The Georgian Defense Ministry has, meanwhile, said that "there are no active military personnel" among Georgians fighting and instructing in eastern Ukraine.

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    instructors, meeting, mercenaries, aide, soldiers, Mikhail Saakashvili, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine
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