Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and Ukrainian governor who was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship on July 26, may be forced to seek asylum in the United States, a Ukrainian legislator said.
Saakashvili said on Facebook that he was visiting the United States when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stripped him of his citizenship, but he did not indicate whether he would seek to stay there.
The Ukrainian legislator from Poroshenko’s faction in parliament, Serhiy Leshchenko, said on Facebook that if Saakashvili seeks to return to Ukraine, he would face extradition to Georgia to face charges for alleged crimes that occurred during his presidency.
Poroshenko had appointed Saakashvili, a reformist who became president of Georgia during the 2003 Rose Revolution but later fell out of favor, to be governor of the Odesa region in 2015. Poroshenko saw him at that time as an ally.
But Saakashvili resigned the post last year, complaining of official obstruction of his anticorruption efforts.
Saakashvili’s supporters on July 26 called Poroshenko’s action to strip Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship an “unconstitutional” reprisal for Saakashvili’s criticisms.