A video uploaded to the official Facebook page of Ukrainian opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili claims that the politician was “kidnapped” while dining at a Kyiv restaurant on Monday. His spokeswoman later confirmed that Saakashvili had been detained by unknown men wearing green camouflage.
“According to some information, they were representatives of a special unit of the border service,” she said. The Kyiv police denied involvement in the incident.
An update on his Facebook page read: “There is no legal reason for this deportation. This is a kidnapping by Ukrainian bandits in order to get rid of a political opponent!”
Earlier this week, Saakashvili’s lawyer warned that the leader of the Movement of New Forces party was facing extradition to Georgia after losing an appeal for official protection.
Saakashvili, 49, was president of his native Georgia for two terms from 2004 to 2013, before moving to Ukraine after a myriad of fraud charges were leveled against him. Following his support for the popular uprising in that country, Saakashvili worked closely with President Petro Poroshenko and even became governor of Odessa.
Saakashvili was also granted Ukrainian citizenship, forcing him to give up his Georgian passport.
After a falling out with Poroshenko, Saakashvili lost his Ukrainian nationality as well, making him a stateless person.
Saakashvili has repeatedly expressed a wish to stay in Ukraine to “get rid of the old corrupt elite.”
Ukraine’s border patrol service did not confirm that they had made the arrest, but officials later told the press that Saakashvili had been deported to Poland, because it was the country from which he arrived.