Georgia’s ex-president back in Ukraine; citizenship restored

Mikheil Saakashvili

FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 file photo, Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgian president-turned-Ukrainian opposition leader, speaks to reporters in Warsaw, Poland. Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, has been given his Ukrainian citizenship back by the country’s new president. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the comedian who last week took power in Ukraine following his convincing election victory, signed a decree on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 that gave back Saakashvili his Ukrainian citizenship. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has arrived in Ukraine a day after its new leader reinstated his citizenship.

Saakashvili arrived in Kiev on Wednesday following the decision by Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to restore his citizenship.

He praised Zelenskiy for a “quick and brave” decision to give back his citizenship. Speaking to reporters at Kiev’s airport, he promised to help make Ukraine “the most successful country in Europe.”

Saakashvili took up Ukrainian citizenship in 2015 after giving up citizenship of his native Georgia where he faced abuse of power charges related to his time as president between 2004 and 2013.

He moved to Ukraine, where then-president Petro Poroshenko appointed him governor of Odessa region. The two fell out and Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship in 2017.

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