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Saakashvili says he has no intention of seeking asylum in Poland

On July 26, 2017, President Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship
Mikhail Saakashvili  AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Mikhail Saakashvili
© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, February 13. /TASS/. Ex-Georgian President and former Head of Ukraine’s Odessa Region Mikhail Saakashvili has said he has no plans to request political asylum in Poland. On Monday, the politician was deported from Ukraine and flown to Warsaw.

"I am currently under the protection of the Polish police. I have talked with the Interior Ministry’s top officials, they phoned me when I arrived at the airport. I will not ask for political asylum in Poland," Saakashvili told Ukraine’s NewsOne television.

Commenting on his possible extradition from Poland to Georgia, Saakashvili said, "The authorities in Georgia are afraid of me just like the devil avoids holy water. If they wanted to extradite me, they would have done it yesterday. I have said right from the start that neither Georgia nor Ukraine have any serious accusations against me."

Saakashvili’s case

Saakashvili, who had been charged with several crimes in Georgia, was granted Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being revoked. The former Georgian leader served as Ukraine’s Odessa Regional Governor, but in November 2016, he stepped down and set up his own party, criticizing the authorities in power.

On July 26, 2017, President Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

On November 30, Ukraine’s Migration Service granted Saakashvili the right to stay in the country legally until March 1, 2018. On February 5, a court in Kiev rejected Saakashvili’s appeal against the ruling by the court of first instance, which refused to grant him refugee status or status as an individual in need of additional protection. The court also rejected the appeal by Ukraine’s Migration Service.

According to Saakashvili, public officials were the first to file a complaint to speed up the process of deporting him from the country.