Speaking on a talk show on Ukraine's News One television channel on Wednesday, Saakashvili, talking in third person, said that prosecutors had calculated that "if Saakashvili had managed to get just $210,000 more…the plotters would have carried out a coup."
"I told prosecutors: so you have established that overthrowing the government in Ukraine costs $210,000? And you kept this from us? It's good that there are cameras here – maybe people can chip in and collect this $210,000, I don't know what people's plans are." Saakashvili said.
The ex-Georgian president and former Odessa governor, whom Ukrainian authorities have accused of trying to stage a putsch, was briefly detained last week in a dramatic standoff with security services on the roof of his apartment building before being freed by a crowd of supporters. Evading his pursuers and staging a protest in front of Ukraine's parliament, Saakashvili was rearrested Friday and taken to a Ukrainian Security Services detention center. The Pecherskyi District Court subsequently ordered his release, overruling a Security Services request that he be put under house arrest.
Saakashvili, who was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship this July, is now a stateless person. In his native Georgia, he is wanted on corruption and abuse of power charges stemming from his tenure as president from 2004-2013. He now faces up to ten years under three articles of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime by a criminal organization. On Thursday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office clarified that it now suspects him of assisting members of a group affiliated with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
"That man, who was the president of the Georgian state, is now running around the central squares there [in Kiev] and yelling to the whole world: 'I am Ukrainian'. Are there no real Ukrainians left in Ukraine anymore? And Ukraine puts up with this. It's such a shame to look at all this, it breaks my heart," Putin added.