Supporters of ex-Georgian president and former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili protested against depriving him of Ukrainian citizenship and engaged in clashes with police in the center of Kiev, a Sputnik correspondent reported Thursday.
KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukraine's State Migration Service announced on Wednesday that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had issued a decree revoking the citizenship of Georgian-born Saakashvili while he was in the United States. Earlier in the day, the administration of Poroshenko told Sputnik that Saakashvili was stripped of Ukrainian nationality since he had provided incorrect information while applying for citizenship.
The protesters gathered at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and headed for the building of the Presidential Administration.
After police cordoned the street where the administration building is located, the protesters engaged in clashes with officers.
The situation soon stabilized with police having detained no protesters.
Saakashvili was appointed as the Odessa region's governor in May 2015 by Poroshenko, who said that he believed the ex-president of Georgia would successfully run the region, especially in terms of tackling corruption. Saakashvili resigned from the position in November 2016, accusing Ukrainian officials of unwillingness to fight against corruption and blaming Poroshenko for patronizing criminal "clans" in the region.
Saakashvili left Georgia after incumbent president Giorgi Margvelashvili took the office in November 2013. The prosecutor's office in Georgia pressed several criminal charges against the ex-president, particularly accusing him of embezzling $5 million form state coffers for personal purposes.
The Georgian prosecutor's office repeatedly called for Kiev to extradite Saakashvili, but the Ukrainian side rejected the appeals. In 2015, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship due to receiving a Ukrainian passport.
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