Poroshenko strips Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has issued a decree to annul the Ukrainian citizenship of the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

Saakashvili was in the USA when news of the loss of his Ukrainian citizenship broke, he said on Facebook. Saakashvili followed that with a Facebook post in which he said that he had warned Poroshenko about Trump's high chances of winning the election. He accused the president of trying to maintain grip on power "by all possible means" and warned that Poroshenko could share the fate of his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled by pro-European protests in February 2014 and fled to Russian Federation. He lost his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after becoming a Ukrainian national.

The erstwhile allies became estranged past year when Saakashvili resigned his governorship, alleging corruption on the part of Poroshenko and other government officials.

Known for sweeping pro-Western reforms in his native Georgia which he led from 2004 to 2013, Saakashvili was a strong supporter of Ukraine's Maidan uprising and as a reward Poroshenko appointed him as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region in 2015.

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Poroshenko's administration did not immediately comment on the decision to strip Saakashvili of his citizenship.

That "will never happen", Saakashvili, who had written in Facebook on July 25 that he was in the United States, said in the video.

Saakashvili's party, "Movement of New Forces" (MNF), called on Ukrainians to gather in central Kiev on Thursday to protest against the abuse of authority.

It did not provide the exact reason, but stated that this could be done if a Ukrainian national acquired citizenship of another country or submitted false documents.

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The move by Kiev puts the 49-year-old in a tricky situation as his Georgian passport was also annulled after he became Ukrainian due to dual citizenship being prohibited in Georgia.

He resigned as Odesa governor in November 2016, complaining of official obstruction of anticorruption efforts, accusing Poroshenko of dishonesty, and charging that the central government was sabotaging crucial reforms.

In 2014 Saakashvili was officially charged in Georgia; however, by the time his case went through court he was already in Ukraine. "I am more Ukrainian than the majority of today's [Ukrainian] lawmakers".

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