Fmr. Georgian Prime Minister expelled from Ukraine moves to Netherlands
Former Georgian Prime Minister Michail Saakashvili is moving to the Netherlands. He landed at Schiphol on Monday, after being deported from the Ukraine to Poland. He plans to settle here, his lawyer Oscar Hammerstein confirmed to NOS. According to the lawyer, Saakashvili's accommodation was "quietly arranged and approved" by the Netherlands' immigration and naturalization service IND.
Saakashvili is married to Dutch woman Sandra Roelofs and has two children. He was recently sentenced, in his absence, to three years in prison in Georgia for abuse of power, according to RTL Nieuws. After his political career in Georgia, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko brought Saakashvili to the Ukraine. But when the Georgian turned out to be a critic of Poroshenko, his Ukrainian citizenship was revoked in July last year.
In September Saakashvili tried to re-enter the Ukraine after a visit to Poland, but his train was halted at the border, according to NOS. He managed to cross the border on foot and went into hiding. The Ukrainian border control declared that Saakashvili was in the country illegally and that, according to international law, he must be sent back to the country he came from - Poland. They finally managed to catch up to Saakashvili and deport him earlier this week.
Saakashvili had to give up his Georgian passport to become governor in Ukraine. He then received a Ukrainian passport, but this has now been revoked. Now he has a Dutch ID card. "I did not have an ID card at all for months", he said to RTL Nieuws. "In Ukraine they had taken it from me because the president did not want me as an opposition leader." He has nothing good to say about the rulers in Ukraine. "Poroshenko turns Ukraine into a Mafia state. The main Mafia state is Russia, but Ukraine is one too. And Georgia is controlled by Russian oligarchs who plunder the country's riches. That is what I fight against."
The former Georgian Prime Minister is happy to be in the Netherlands. "I am now in a country where I am no longer being chased, except by journalists. That is a great feeling", he said to RTL. Saakashvili added that he has no political ambitions in the Netherlands. "I will not be your new Foreign Affairs Minister", he said referring to Halbe Zijlstra's resignation after he admitted lying about a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Exactly where in the Netherlands Saakashvili is settling, is not clear. AD reports he wants to settle in Amsterdam. NOS spoke to him in Rotterdam.