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Police open criminal case against Saakashvili for illegal border crossing

September 11, 6:22 UTC+3 KIEV

The criminal offense provides for up to five years in jail with the confiscation of transport or other means of committing this crime

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© REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KIEV, September 11. /TASS/. Ukraine has launched criminal proceedings against Georgian ex-president and former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili, for illegal entry into the country, National Police of Ukraine reported on Monday.

"The Lvov police have added information on a criminal offense under Section 332 (Illegal Transfer of Individuals Across Ukraine’s State Border) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine to the unified register of pretrial investigation over the incident near the Shegini checkpoint at the Ukrainian-Polish border," the police said.

It added that "this criminal offense provides for up to five years in jail with the confiscation of transport or other means of committing this crime."

Police cordon at border checkpoint broken

On Sunday evening, Saakashvili and his supporters broke through a police cordon at the Shegeni checkpoint at the Polish-Ukrainian border to cross into Ukraine. According to the State Border Guard Service, 12 National Police fighters and five representatives of the State Border Guard Service have sustained bodily harm. The border guard service added that a request would be filed with Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office over state border violation.

Earlier, Polish border guards let Saakashvili out of the country but warned about possible problems with the Ukrainian side.

Initially, Saakashvili planned to enter Ukraine via the Krakovets motor checkpoint. His supporters put a tent camp near the checkpoint a day before his expected arrival. About a thousand of people gathered there for a rally in support of the politician, who has been stripped of Ukrainian citizenship. Later, Saakashvili said he would opt for a train to avoid provocations.

However, the Przemysl-Kiev train was first delayed for about two hours to be ultimately cancelled. Ukraine’s Railway Company Urkzaliznytsya explained the move by "the presence in the train of a person without necessary documents." After that, Saakashvili opted to use a bus to get to the border with Ukraine.

On Sunday evening, Saakashvili arrived in Lvov, a city in western Ukraine, where he plans to meet with his party’s representatives to discuss future actions.

Saakashvili case

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 term of office expired and new President Giorgi Margvelashvili was sworn in. In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being terminated by the decision of the Georgian president.

Saakashvili served as Odessa Region Governor from May 30, 2015, to November 9, 2016, but then tendered his resignation. On July 26, 2017, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship. In the second half of July Saakashvili was in the US, in early August - in some Eastern European countries.

On August 26, Saakashvili claimed that the Ukrainian and Georgian authorities were plotting to accuse him of preparing a coup in Georgia. He noted that it was planned to press charges against him before September 10.

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