Ukraine appeals for transfer of ex-Georgian president Saakashvili for treatment

9 January, 12:17 PM
Rally in support of Saakashvili in Tbilisi (Photo:REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze)

Rally in support of Saakashvili in Tbilisi (Photo:REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze)

Ukraine has officially appealed to Georgia, asking for the Georgian government to transfer  former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili for medical treatment, the Georgian Public Broadcaster quoted Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak as saying on Jan. 8.

Podolyak emphasized that, unlike Russia, Ukraine does not interfere in the “sovereign affairs of other countries and doesn’t give any advice.”

Therefore, Ukraine’s offer to treat Saakashvili is an official appeal, not informal pressure.

“I really sympathize with Mikheil Nikolozovich,” Podolyak said.

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“I respect him because he is a historical figure. Our official position is to hand Saakashvili over to us for treatment. And if you don’t want to send him directly to Ukraine, send him to any third European country where he can be provided with the medical care that, unfortunately, cannot be provided in Georgia.”

Saakashvili, who also served as governor of Odesa Oblast from 2015-2016 and holds Ukrainian citizenship, has been behind bars since his return to Georgia on the eve of local elections in the autumn of 2021. He had not been in the country since his second term as president ended in 2013.

Saakashvili has claimed that his imprisonment is due to political reasons, and has gone on hunger strike several times in an effort to secure his own release.

According to a statement made by Saakashvili’s lawyers, family, and supporters, as a result of the hunger strike and improper treatment at the prison, the former president’s health is deteriorating seriously, and he needs treatment abroad. Reportedly, Saakashvili has been diagnosed with dementia and tuberculosis, according to attorney Shalva Khachapuridze.

Currently, Saakashvili is said to have been transferred from prison to the Vivamedi medical clinic in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

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