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Putin calls Saakashvili’s appointment as Odessa governor ‘spit in Ukraine’s face’

Vladimir Putin recalls that ex-Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was refused even a US working visa or a permanent job at a univerisity
Mikhail Saakashvili Arkhip Vereshchagin/TASS
Mikhail Saakashvili
© Arkhip Vereshchagin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. The appointment of ex-Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili as the Odessa region governor was a spit in the face of all Ukrainian people, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview for Oliver Stone’s documentary titled Ukraine on Fire to be aired by the REN TV channel.

"This was just a spit, an insult for the Odessa residents and all the Ukrainian people," the Russian leader said commenting on Saakashvili’s appointment in May 2015.

The Russian president recalled that the former Georgian leader had not been given a US working visa or a permanent job at universities. "Is he able to fulfill the duty of the Odessa governor?" Putin asked. "Aren’t there decent, professional and talented Ukrainians to do this job?"

In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted the Ukrainian citizenship and appointed the governor of the southwestern Odessa region. On November 7, 2016 Saakashvili announced his resignation, which was later accepted by the Ukrainian president. Saakashvili explained his move with the impossibility to fight corruption while the Ukraine’s top officials are involved in it.

Saakashvili fled Georgia in mid-November 2013, days before his second term in office expired and the inauguration of President Georgy Margvelashvili (November 17, 2013). After that, he stayed in the United States and Ukraine.

In 2014, Saakashvili was charged with cracking down on a Georgian peaceful rally on November 7, 2007; illegally occupying the building of the Imedi television channel; illegal acquisition of property owned by businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili; organizing an armed attack on MP Valery Gelashvili in 2005 and misappropriation of state funds in 2009-2012. In February 2015, Georgia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office asked Ukraine to extradite Saakashvili, but its request was rejected.