05:08 GMT +319 July 2019
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    Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili gestures as gives a press conference at the headquarters of the opposition in Kiev on December 7, 2013

    Saakashvili Rejects Refugee Status After Loss of Ukrainian Citizenship

    © AFP 2019 / VASILY MAXIMOV
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    Mikheil Saakashvili vowed he would fight for the right to return to Ukraine after it stripped him of citizenship.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Georgia’s ex-president and former Ukrainian governor Mikheil Saakashvili vowed Thursday he would fight for the right to return to Ukraine after it stripped him of citizenship.

    "Now there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee. This will not happen! I will not remain anywhere else and will not change status! I will fight for my legal right to return to Ukraine!" he said on Facebook.

    Ukraine's State Migration Service announced on Wednesday that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had issued a decree rescinding the citizenship of Georgian-born Saakashvili while he was in the United States.

    He faces extradition to Georgia if he ventures back into Ukraine, local lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko said. Saakashvili had his Georgian passport revoked after he was named governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region in 2015.

    The politician is wanted in Georgia for several alleged felonies, including the embezzlement of $5 million in state funds, accusations that he claims were fabricated.

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