Mikhail Saakashvili ran between Georgia and Ukraine – Mir – Kommersant

Ukrainian-Georgian relations may become even more complicated in the near future. The reason is the development of the situation around the former president of Georgia, citizen of Ukraine Mikhail Saakashvili. He continues his hunger strike in the Gldani prison, demanding a transfer to the city clinic. Judging by the results of Friday’s telephone conversation between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Tbilisi has decided to take a tough stance and is not going to comply with Kiev’s requests regarding Mr. Saakashvili.

The degree of tension in the telephone conversation between the Ukrainian president and the Georgian prime minister, who, according to the constitution, has full power in the parliamentary republic, can be judged by the content and tone of statements circulated by the administrations of Vladimir Zelensky and Irakli Garibashvili.

The President of Ukraine called the Prime Minister of Georgia after meeting with the Georgian singer Vakhtang Kikabidze, who is considered his close friend since the days when Mr. Zelensky was a showman. At the same time, Vakhtang Kikabidze, who refused to speak in Russia after the 2008 armed conflict over South Ossetia, is considered one of the most zealous supporters of Mikhail Saakashvili.

Another “impulse” for Volodymyr Zelenskyy was probably the appeal of Mikhail Saakashvili’s mother Giuli Alasania and the Ukrainian wife of the ex-president, an influential deputy from the pro-presidential Servant of the People party Yelizaveta Yasko.

According to the Ukrainian presidential administration, in a telephone conversation with Irakli Garibashvili, initiated by Kiev, the head of the Ukrainian state “asked the Prime Minister of Georgia to allow Ukrainian doctors to visit Mikhail Saakashvili” and “guarantee the prisoner’s rights in accordance with international law.”

As noted in the press service of Zelensky’s office, he called the coercive measures applied to the ex-president of Georgia disproportionate and unacceptable.

How the Georgian prime minister responded, his administration reported. “Irakli Garibashvili noted that more than a hundred people have visited Saakashvili in the prison since the day of his arrest,” the statement says. At the same time, Mr. Garibashvili reminded Vladimir Zelensky: Ukrainian citizen Saakashvili “illegally entered the territory of Georgia, where he was sentenced to imprisonment,” and during his transfer to the Gldani prison “he resisted, physically and verbally abused the staff of the penitentiary institution.”

Irakli Garibashvili in the course of the conversation called unacceptable any interference of “Ukrainian citizens in the internal affairs of Georgia” and rejected the demand of the President of Ukraine to involve Ukrainian doctors in the treatment of Mikhail Saakashvili.

“Highly professional Georgian doctors are taking care of this,” the head of the Cabinet of Ministers stressed.

Mikheil Saakashvili has previously become a factor of tension between Kiev and Tbilisi. Last year, after the ex-president’s appeal to the Georgians to “not abide by the draconian COVID restrictions”, Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Teimuraz Sharashenidze was temporarily recalled “for consultations.” Commenting on this diplomatic demarche, Mikhail Saakashvili then said: “Ukraine is a great power, and it should punish the Georgian authorities for their actions with economic sanctions.” As a result, according to the ex-president, “official Tbilisi would have grown wiser at once, since it largely depends on the Ukrainian market.”

George Dvali, Tbilisi

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