02:49 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Mikhaeil Saakashvili's news conference in Kiev

    Fire Sale: Georgian Ex-President Says How Much a Coup in Kiev Would Cost

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    The Ukrainian general prosecutor's office has accused Ex-Georgian president-turned Ukrainian street politician Mikheil Saakashvili of attempting to stage a coup d'état in Kiev, and said that the politician fell short of just $210,000 US in funds to carry it out. The politician appeared to admit that this was true, live on Ukrainian television.

    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.

    "If this is how much it costs to change the authorities, to change our reality, to lower utilities prices, so that people will stop leaving the country, so that the country changes and starts growing, maybe the money would be found," he added.

    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.

    During Thursday's marathon press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that that he considers Saakashvili's actions a "spit in the face" of the Georgian and Ukrainian people. "How can you continue putting up with this?" Putin asked, speaking to Ukrainian journalists present in the audience.

    "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.

    price, pricetag, candid remarks, interview, talk show, plot, plotting, coup d'etat, Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukraine
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