VILNIUS – Georgia’s former president and Ukraine’s former Odessa Region Governor Mikheil Saakashvili, who spent a few days in Poland after being stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, has arrived in Lithuania, he said in a Facebook statement on Tuesday.
“It’s always good to stay in fraternal Lithuania, especially among friends who established Lithuania’s independence: Vytautas Landsbergis, ministers, government members and candidates for presidency,” he noted. Saakashvili also thanked Lithuanians “for support for Ukraine and Georgia” and for Vilnius’s support regarding removal of his Ukrainian citizenship.
Saakashvili told reporters that he did not plan to gain Lithuanian citizenship, though European Parliament member from Lithuania Petras Austrevicius had offered him Lithuanian citizenship in June. “I am grateful for this chance, but I must return the Ukrainian citizenship that was illegally removed from me,” he said.
Saakashvili arrived in Lithuania from Poland with a Ukrainian passport, he said, just the way he had come to Warsaw from the US before. He showed his Ukrainian passport at a meeting with “Warsaw Maidan” activists in the Polish capital and said that he was “very proud of it.” The former Georgian president also noted that he had not had any problems with both leaving the US and arriving in Europe.
On July 26, Ukraine’s migration service released information on removal of Ukrainian citizenship from Saakashvili under President Pyotr Poroshenko’s order. According to Saakashvili himself, he had only citizenship of this country.