Former Georgian president, Ukrainian governor Saakashvili arrested, deported
Mikhail Saakashvili speaks with media in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 9, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
Kiev, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- A former president of Georgia who later served as a governor in Ukraine was on Monday arrested at a restaurant in Kiev by masked men and deported to Poland, his official Facebook page confirmed.
Mikheil Saakashvili, who was stripped of his Ukrainian nationality after denouncing corruption in the government and had been arrested several times last Dec. after he tried to re-enter Ukraine, had in recent weeks claimed that he was being persecuted by authorities.
"Unidentified men in masks grabbed and carried Saakashvili away to an unknown place," read the statement on Facebook.
The message was accompanied by several videos that showed men in military-style uniforms dragging someone away from a restaurant, which the Facebook posts termed an abduction by hijackers.
Liza Bogutska, a spokesperson for the politician, assured there was evidence that he was taken to an airport outside Kiev, from where he was deported to Warsaw.
In a statement, the Ukrainian border service said that Saakashvili had been on Ukrainian territory illegally and was therefore returned to the country he had entered from.
Saakashvili is accused of participating in criminal organizations and plotting a coup against the Ukrainian government, including President Petro Poroshenko, who in 2016 he accused of enabling corruption.
He was stripped of his Ukrainian nationality by Poroshenko in July 2017.