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    Mikheil Saakashvili

    Kremlin Indifferent to Saakashvili's Loss of Ukrainian Citizenship

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    Kremlin is indifferent to the the former leader of Georgia and ex-governor of Ukraine's Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili's loss of Ukrainian citizenship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

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

    "This issue is not of any interest to Kremlin," Peskov told reporters.

    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 the citizenship.

    Saakashvili resigned from the position of the Odessa region governor on November 7, 2016, citing Kiev's reluctance to fight corruption as the reason for his resignation and accusing the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of protecting the criminals.

    Saakashvili, a fugitive from prosecution in his homeland Georgia, was granted Ukrainian citizenship and appointed the governor of the Odessa Region in 2015.

    He served as Georgia's president between 2004 and 2013. Saakashvili left Georgia after incumbent president Giorgi Margvelashvili took the office in November 2013. In July, 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.

    On Tuesday, Saakashvili said he was in the United States in a Facebook post. Later, Saakashvili's "Movement of New Forces" party of Ukraine confirmed this information. The former Georgian leader cannot return to Ukraine, as he would be immediately sent to Georgia as a non-Ukranian citizen, Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity member and lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko said earlier on Wednesday.

    The revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship was met with criticism by some Ukrainian politicians with ex-Prime Minister and Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko believing that this move was another step toward dictatorship in Ukraine.

    The Georgian prosecutor's office repeatedly called for Kiev to extradite Saakashvili, but the Ukrainian side rejected the appeals at least twice. In 2015, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship due to receiving a Ukrainian passport.


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    Citizenship, Dmitry Peskov, Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine
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