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Several Ukrainian media reported on July 26 that President Petro Poroshenko had suspended ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship.
Axar.az reports citing Kyiv Post.
The State Migration Service indirectly confirmed it, saying on its website that the Commission on Citizenship had reviewed Saakashvili’s citizenship and had come to a decision.
It added that “the president signed a decree to suspend citizenship” but avoided directly saying that Saakashvili’s citizenship was suspended.
At the same time, Saakashvili’s spokeswoman Daryna Chyzh said on Facebook that the State Migration Service told her the news wasn’t true.
The Kyiv Post is trying to confirm the information.
The TSN news website quoted a source at the State Migration Service as saying that Saakashvili submitted incorrect data when he applied for citizenship in 2015. He said that he was not under investigation in Ukraine or abroad, while in fact he was being investigated in Georgia, the source added.
“Poroshenko is running ahead of other dictators of the world: he has stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship and banned him from entering Ukraine. He’s so scared! Ukraine got a new Yanukovych – an English-speaking one!” ex-Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze, a Saakashvili ally, wrote on Facebook in a reference to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. “But this will not stop us, Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces. On the contrary, this will hasten the end of Petro Poroshenko’s regime!”
Reformist lawmaker Sergii Leshchenko said on Facebook that Saakashvili was currently in the United States.
“Saakashvili cannot physically come back to Ukraine because he will be arrested in Boryspil when he arrives and immediately extradited to Georgia,” he said.
But Chyzh told the Kyiv Post that Saakashvili was planning to come back to Ukraine.
Poroshenko gave Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015, when appointing him the governor of Odesa Oblast.
In December 2016, Georgian authorities stripped Saakashvili of Georgian citizenship.
Saakashvili left the office of Odesa Oblast governor in November 2016. He has since started his own party, Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces, and has been heavily criticizing Ukrainian authorities.
In April, Poroshenko also suspended the Ukrainian citizenship of Sasha Borovik, an ally of Saakashvili and a critic of the president, and Radical Party lawmaker Andriy Artemenko, because they allegedly have German and Canadian citizenship, respectively. Borovik called it “an unprecedented move that is more characteristic of the Soviet Union and other dictatorships.”
The Constitution bans the authorities from stripping anyone of citizenship, though lawyers differ on whether this also applies to suspension. No president had previously applied this measure to his opponents before.
Evgen Zakharov, head of Kharkiv Human Rights group, called this suspension of citizenship a “rude violation” of the Constitution, while Viktor Musiyaka, a legal scholar and co-author of the Ukrainian Constitution, said it can be disputed in court.
2017.07.26 / 20:29