KIEV, May 28. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has restored Ukrainian citizenship of former Georgian President and ex-governor of the Odessa Region Mikhail Saakashvili, a decree published on the presidential website said on Tuesday.
Saakashvili was stripped of the Ukrainian citizenship by a decree of former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko in July 2017.
The former Georgian leader expressed gratitude to Zelensky for restoring his Ukrainian citizenship. "Thank you, President Zelensky! Glory to Ukraine," he wrote on his Facebook page, posting an online link to the decree.
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 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.
After Zelensky won the presidential election, Saakashvili expressed hope that he would get his Ukrainian citizenship back. Last week reports said that he could come to Kiev on May 29.