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Ex-Georgian leader Saakashvili says he does not need European visa

Saakashvili was Georgia’s president from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to November 2013

KIEV, December 21. /TASS/. Former Georgian president, ex-governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region and currently leader of the Ukrainian opposition Movement of New Forces, Mikhail Saakashvili, said he had no need for a Dutch visa, as well as for a visa from any other European state.

The comment was made in response to a Dutch newspaper’s report that The Netherlands issued a visa for Saakashvili, who is formally a stateless person now.

"I don’t need a Dutch visa. I can enter any European country, at any moment, while I stay in Ukraine. I have citizenship proposals <…> from several European countries, at least from their senior officials. I am automatically entitled for Dutch citizenship, because my family is from The Netherlands. I have invitations to work in the United States and in several European countries," he said.

"Any European country will let me in, everyone knows that," he said.

Saakashvili was Georgia’s president from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to November 2013. He left his country in mid-November 2013, days before his presidential term expired. After his departure from Georgia, Saakashvili lived in the United States and Ukraine. He was granted Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being revoked. Before being appointed Odessa governor in late May 2015, he worked in Kiev as chief of the International Reform Council. In November 2016, he stepped down as the Odessa Region governor and set up his own party, criticizing the authorities in power. On July 26, 2017, while Saakashvili was in the United States, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stripped him of the Ukrainian citizenship.

Georgian prosecutors brought several charges against Saakashvili in 2014. He was charged with a crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in November 2007; illegal intrusion into the building of the Imedi television channel; illegal acquisition of property belonging to businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili; organisation of an armed attack on lawmaker Valery Gelashvili in 2005; covering-up a crime and falsification of an investigation into the 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani; and misappropriation of about $5 million from state funds in 2009-2012.

Ukraine rejected Georgia’s extradition requests for Saakashvili twice, in 2014 and 2015, despite the Georgia-Ukraine agreement of 1995 envisaging extradition of wanted persons.