The political drama in central Kiev escalated Wednesday after Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko announced that Saakashvili's supporters had seized a Ukrainian parliamentary committee premises in Hotel Ukraina, just across from Maidan Square. Saakashvili himself is listed a wanted man by both the Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine on numerous charges including conspiring to seize power through illegal street protests. Ukraine's security services have engaged Saakashvili in a cat and mouse game after he escaped custody outside his apartment on Tuesday with the help of supporters. On Wednesday morning, police in riot gear attempted to catch the politician in a tent encampment set up near the parliament building, to no avail.
However, BBC journalist and Kiev correspondent Jonah Fisher managed to catch up with the politician as he walked through a park in central Kiev on Wednesday, politely asking him for reaction over Kiev's charges, and whether he had any plans to turn himself in.
"Well, go get lost please," was Saakashvili's response as he continued walking, turning around briefly to point at the reporter and mutter something. Offended, Fisher posted the exchange on Twitter.
Here’s Mikheil Saakashvili at the protest camp this morning. Tells me to “get lost”. pic.twitter.com/J4rUQQ7BPU— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) 6 декабря 2017 г.
He received sympathy from his fellow journalists, as well as ordinary users trying to figure out what was behind the color revolutionary's sour attitude.
Ask him softballs & he'll he give you a minute- or 3-minute long answer. Ask for response to charges (like I did yday) or about being wanted (as you did) & he has no time for you. Yet, when all was quiet last weeks his press team were ringing up journos, desperate for interviews.— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) 6 декабря 2017 г.
journalists were not feeling well during his presidential term in Georgia. Hi is some kind of dictator— Порохокот Барига (@pIebeian) 6 декабря 2017 г.
The exchange was soon picked up by the internet's meme-makers, who milked it for everything it was worth.
Мастер класс общения Саакашвили с журналистами: pic.twitter.com/SIqKUPCaW0— Екатерина Ткачева (@emanacia91) 6 декабря 2017 г.
Figuring out that Fisher was a BBC journalist, Saakashvili later apologized to him and gave him a proper interview outside his tent.
Just been to see Mikheil Saakashvili in his tent and he apologised for telling me to "get lost" this morning. https://t.co/UooFMkWfql— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisherBBC) 6 декабря 2017 г.
Saakashvili is wanted on numerous criminal charges in his native Georgia. Coming to Ukraine in 2015 at the request of President Petro Poroshenko, the politician was put in charge of Odessa region. A year later, he was out of a job and accusing Poroshenko and Ukraine's cabinet of enabling and engaging in corruption. In July, Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, becoming a stateless person. Since then, the politician has been on a quest to remove the Ukrainian government from power.