Former Georgian president abducted from Ukrainian restaurant by armed men


The press office of Georgia's third President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is in conflict with his former ally President Petro Poroshenko, says that Saakashvili has been abducted from a restaurant in Kiev. He vowed to continue rallying Ukrainians against their nation's "corrupt authorities".

Saakashvili said that he did not intend to seek asylum in Poland, and vowed to eventually return to Ukraine.

However, their relationship deteriorated, culminating in Saakashvili's resignation from the position in 2016 in a protest against what he said was high-level corruption.

He also said that security measures had been strengthened at the airport as Saakashvili's supporters were likely to arrive and conduct provocative actions.

Saakashvili, 50, served two terms as Georgia's president from 2004 to 2013. "However, during the procedure, law enforcers were attacked by unknown persons from Mikheil Saakashvili's entourage and the border guards were forced to defend themselves", he wrote on Facebook on Monday evening.

"The reason why they want to get rid of me is that they don't have a real case against me, [and] because I crossed the path of oligarchs that want to further plunder the country", he said.

Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship when he was out of the country previous year but returned in September, facing what he calls politically motivated extradition.

Polish border police confirmed in a statement that Saakashvili had arrived in Warsaw and that "the basis for his admission into Poland was based on an application submitted by the National Migration Service of Ukraine to the commander-in-chief of Poland's border guards. The fact that he is the husband of an European Union citizen has contributed to a positive decision on the Ukrainian side's request, while considering it", the statement said.

Opinion polls indicate that Saakashvili and the political movement he has created have only limited popularity in Ukraine, where parliamentary and presidential elections are due to be held in 2019.

The Ukrainian government had three choices in dealing with Saakashvili: an arrest, deportation to Georgia, or exile in Poland.

Ukrainian authorities accused Saakashvili of abetting an alleged "criminal group" led by Yanukovych, and claim the protests he has led are part of a Russian plot against the government in Kyiv.