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Kremlin brands Saakashvili's 'illegal border crossing' as political circus

Kremlin brands Saakashvili's 'illegal border crossing' as political circus”

Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship in July.

A train carrying former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and his supporters was prevented from leaving a railway station in Poland for Ukraine on Sunday, deepening a standoff between Saakashvili and the Ukrainian authorities.

Earlier, Polish border guards let Saakashvili out of the country but warned him about possible problems with the Ukrainian authorities.

Saakashvili lost his Georgian citizenship when he was granted a Ukrainian passport in 2015, as the country does not allow dual citizenship. He stands accused of criminal abuse of power by the pro-Russian government in Georgia and was expelled from Ukraine after resigning from the governorship of Odessa and founding a pro-American, anti-Russian populist party.

In Georgia between 2004 and 2013, he was credited with pushing through pro-Western and anti-graft reforms.

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Saakashvili denies the accusations branding them a political witch hunt.

"But instead, he committed a crime - because the state border must not be violated", Poroshenko said.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said that 11 policemen and five border guards were injured in yesterday's affray. According to the State Border Guard Service, 12 National Police fighters and 10 border guards have sustained bodily harm.

But a crowd of supporters, who chanted "Misha, Misha" - a diminutive of his name - forced their way into Ukraine with Saakashvili, who now risks extradition to his native Georgia.

Police have launched a criminal investigation into Sunday's incident, while General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said those who crossed the border illegally would be prosecuted. "No matter how many times he says that I am not a danger [to] him, every action of his shows exactly the opposite - that he regards me as a great and immediate danger", Saakashvili also said.

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"We see what he did in his own country and that's enough for us", said Lyudmyla Goretska while waiting at Krakovets on Ukraine's side of the border with Poland.

Before crossing the border, Saakashvili has explained stis difficulty by the fact that Kiev "panic", saying that he wanted "not to overthrow the president Porochenko" goal just to defend sti rights.

Saakashvili's attorneys argue that it is illegal for a nation to strip a citizen of their citizenship rights when this leaves the person stateless.

At the Medyka border, supporters expressed hope that Saakashvili could deliver some of the same types of reforms in Ukraine.

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