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Saakashvili Says Georgia to Charge Him With Plotting Coup

  • RFE/RL

Former Georgian president and former governor of the Ukrainian Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili surrounded by his supporters at a rally near the Justice Ministry in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 30, 2017.

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is also a former governor of Ukraine's Odesa region, has accused the authorities of Georgia and Ukraine of planning to accuse of planning a coup in Georgia.

Saakashvili wrote on Facebook on Saturday that the Georgian authorities "in complete coordination with officials in Ukraine" were planning to make the accusation soon.

"They promised [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko that they would file the charges before September 10," he wrote.

Saakashvili said the charges would give Ukrainian authorities "a legal basis" for detaining him if he entered Ukraine.

He added that the charges were risible and politically motivated.

Earlier the same day, Nika Gvaramia, the head of Georgia's Rustavi-2 television, said he believed charges of plotting a coup might be filed against Saakashvili.

Background

Saakashvili, 49, once a lauded pro-Western reformist, served two terms as Georgia's president, from January 2004 to November 2013.

His popularity declined toward the end of his second term, in part because of a five-day war with Russia during which Moscow's forces drove deep into the South Caucasus country, and his long-ruling party was voted out of power in a 2012 parliamentary election.

In 2015, Saakashvili forfeited his Georgian citizenship by accepting an offer from his old college friend, Poroshenko, to become governor of Ukraine's southwestern Odessa Oblast province — a post that required Ukrainian citizenship.

Saakashvili, who harbors Ukrainian political ambitions, resigned as governor of Odessa in November 2016, complaining of official obstruction and corruption. He accused Poroshenko of dishonesty and said his central government had sabotaged democratic reforms required for membership to the European Union and NATO.

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