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Saakashvili breaks through Ukrainian border in violent clashes

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Ukrainian state official who was denied his citizenship in July, led a daylong political theatre in which he broke through the Ukrainian border illegally on Sept. 10 with the help of dozens of supporters and provocateurs. The violent clashes resulted in injuries to five border guards and 11 police officers. This morning, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called upon Saakashvili to report to the Shehyni border point or a local office of the Migration Service. Criminal charges have been filed for engaging in an illegal swarming of people across the border, Avakov said on his Facebook page, warning that his accomplices would also be criminally charged.


Although hinting that he would cross at Poland’s Korczowa-Krakovets border point, Saakashvili’s first real attempt to enter Ukraine was by riding a train from the Polish city of Przemysl to the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Confirming the crossing had been rehearsed, dozens of tickets were purchased ahead of time by his team of supporters. However, Ukrainian authorities canceled the train. Afterwards, Saakashvili went directly to the Medyka-Shehyni border point, where he thrust past border guards in a crowd of dozens of supporters without submitting his passport for review.


Zenon Zawada: Saakashvili’s political spectacle yesterday marks the beginning of the 2019 presidential and parliamentary election campaign. A pro-Western opposition is shaping up to oppose Poroshenko’s re-election bid, led by Saakashvili and Tymoshenko. While Saakashvili is not qualified to run for president or parliament, he has the ability to organize and lead the activity of his political party, The Movement of New Forces, which can work in tandem with other pro-EU parties opposed to the Poroshenko administration.


Saakashvili plans to cooperate politically with Tymoshenko since she was at his side for most of the day’s theatrics, with began with an on camera lunch in the city of Rzeszow. When Saakashvili emerged in Lviv for an evening press briefing, he was not only accompanied by Tymoshenko but also Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, who was targeted for political persecution by the Poroshenko administration. Sadovyi leads the Self-Reliance party, which can form a coalition with Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party and Saakashvili’s party after the 2019 elections.


We believe Saakashvili is drawing support from U.S. intelligence services, which have grown tired of Poroshenko’s corruption. With Saakashvili’s help, they are cobbling together a coalition of MPs willing to pursue reforms a lot farther and quicker than Poroshenko and his team, who have demonstrated much resistance. It’s worth noting that Saakashvili’s agitators were clearly part of an organized effort and had received training.
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