Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
World|politics|May 30, 2019 / 10:00 AM
Saakashvili returns to Ukraine

AKIPRESS.COM - Mikheil Saakashvili returned to Ukraine on May 29, arriving amid a political transition a day after new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reinstated the former Georgian leader's citizenship in a country he told RFE/RL he considers his homeland.

Saakashvili, the reformist former Georgian president who had a short second career as governor of Ukraine's Odesa region before he was fired and stripped of his citizenship, arrived at Kyiv's Boryspil airport in the early evening on a flight from Poland.

Speaking to reporters and supporters, Saakashvili said he does not plan to take part in Ukraine’s upcoming snap parliamentary elections but wants to join in efforts to reshape the political landscape and bring new faces to power.

"Personally, I will not be going to any election," he said. "But, of course, I will facilitate and assist in every way in changing politicians in Ukraine, purging [the country] of swindlers and people who have plundered Ukraine.

"I haven't come here for revenge, punishment, [or] to destroy someone," he said, adding: "I want to participate in building a new Ukraine jointly with millions of Ukrainians after a historic chance, with a new president, with a new team."

At the airport, Saakashvili was welcomed by a group of supporters who were holding flags from his Movement of New Forces party. There was also a banner adorned with the Ukrainian and Georgian flags that read: “We are friends.”

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