KIEV, September 5. /TASS/. Tbilisi has forwarded a request to Ukraine to arrest and extradite former Georgian President and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Sergei Petukhov said on Tuesday.
"Ukraine has received a request [from Georgia] to find, arrest and extradite Mikhail Saakashvili," he told the 112.Ukraina TV channel. According to Petukhov, the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office "has provided guarantees that the request is not based on political persecution and that the person in question will not be charged with crimes not mentioned in the extradition request."
In mid-August, the Georgian Imedi TV channel published an official response received from the Prosecutor General’s Office which said that the documents necessary for Saakashvili’s extradition had been forwarded to Ukraine. Georgian Justice Minister Teya Tsulukiani said earlier that Tbilisi was ready to demand Saakashvili’s extradition from any country he would go to after being stripped of the Ukrainian citizenship.
Saakasvili currently resides in one of the European countries. Earlier he announced his plan to return to Ukraine on September 10.
Saakashvili served as Georgia’s President from January 2004 to November 2007, and from January 2008 to mid-November 2013. In November 2013, he left the country two days before his presidential term expired and moved to the United States. In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being revoked.
In 2014, the Georgian authorities charged the former president with involvement in the massacre of protest participants, illegal seizure of the property of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, as well as with impending the investigation into the murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani and embezzling state assets.
Saakashvili served as Ukraine’s Odessa Region Governor from May 30, 2015, to November 9, 2016. On July 26, 2017, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stripped him of the Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili then traveled to the US, in early August he stayed in Poland, and then went to Lithuania and Hungary.
On August 26, Saakashvili stated that the Ukrainian and Georgian authorities were plotting to accuse him of preparing a coup in Georgia.