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Georgia’s ex-president hopes to return to Ukraine under President Zelensky

The Ukrainian State Border Service banned Saakashvili from entering the country until 2021

KIEV, May 21. /TASS/. Ex-President of Georgia and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday that he was ready to return to Ukraine, which he saw as his second home, but the Ukrainian courts were stalling his case.

"In my case, I was denied justice," Saakashvili said in a video address uploaded to YouTube. "I miss Ukraine, my friends and relatives. I see Ukraine as my second home, and Kiev and Odessa, as my hometowns," he added.

"I was arbitrarily deprived of citizenship. They say that an expertise has to be conducted, but you have to wait two years for your turn there. They are toying with me," the politician said.

At his inauguration ceremony, President Vladimir Zelensky said that all Ukrainians willing to build a new state could come to the country. "He pledged citizenship to all. I need to restore it. For this, I must first of all be allowed into Ukraine," he went on to say.

"[Pyotr] Poroshenko ordered the Border Guards to ban me from entering. I hope the ban will be promptly rescinded. I am going to fly to Ukraine - this is my answer. See you in Kiev," Saakashavili added, however, without giving the exact date of his return.

Mikhail Saakashvili had served two inconsecutive terms as Georgia’s head of state, from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to mid-November 2013. In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being terminated by a Georgian presidential decision. He then served as Odessa Regional Governor, but later stepped down. In July 2017, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship amid a political fallout and under the pretext of Saakashvili knowingly giving false information to obtain citizenship, In February 2018, the Ukrainian authorities expelled him to Poland.

The Ukrainian State Border Service banned Saakashvili from entering the country until 2021. However, he pledged that he would never stop trying to return to Ukraine.