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Saakashvili teases 'cautious' return to Ukrainian politics

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Former Georgian president and ex-governor of the Odessa Region Mikhail Saakashvili, who has regained Ukrainian citizenship, pledged on Wednesday to return to the country’s politics "cautiously." reports citing foreign media that "I missed Ukraine and at first, I want to meet my friends and I will be cautious when returning to politics," Saakashvili told "1 + 1" TV channel. "There will be something, but not that I will become part of any local political process from the first minutes…I will be very careful," he said.

When asked if he wishes to become a prime minister, Saakashvili recalled that former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko had offered him this position three times, but he refused. "There may be different circumstances, but now I don’t see myself in this position," he noted.

The former Georgian leader said he was not afraid of returning to Ukraine, where he faces a criminal investigation. "Two days ago Prosecutor [Konstantin] Kulik said in detail how they had falsified this case and how President Poroshenko had personally ordered this <...> I think the new prosecutor will look at all these cases and everything will end."

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reinstated Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili was stripped of the Ukrainian citizenship by a decree of former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko in July 2017.

Saakashvili announced that he would return to Kiev on Wednesday afternoon, vowing to support Zelensky’s reforms rather than fulfill his own political ambitions.

Mikhail Saakashvili had served two inconsecutive terms as Georgia’s head of state, from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to mid-November 2013. In May 2015, Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship, which resulted in his Georgian citizenship being terminated by a Georgian presidential decision. He then served as Odessa Regional Governor, but later stepped down. In July 2017, Ukrainian Poroshenko stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship amid a political fallout and under the pretext of Saakashvili knowingly giving false information to obtain citizenship, In February 2018, the Ukrainian authorities expelled him to Poland.

The Ukrainian State Border Service banned Saakashvili from entering the country until 2021. However, he pledged that he would never stop trying to return to Ukraine.

2019.05.29 / 15:37
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