Zelenskyy Readmits Saakashvili to Ukraine Citizenship
28 May, 2019

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a decree on the reinstatement of Ukrainian citizenship to the former head of the Odesa Regional State Administration, ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Earlier, Zelenskyy called Saakashvili "the defender of democracy in Ukraine", while Saakashvili noted that Zelenskyy "is not like any of the [presidential] candidates."

READ MORE: Ukrainian Opposition Leader Mikheil Saakashvili Deported​

Saakashvili appealed to Zelenskyy to reinstate his Ukrainian citizenship on May 22. Before that, Saakashvili mentioned that he had appealed to the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Border Guard Service and Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) with a request to lift the ban on entry into Ukraine.

Former Georgian president was appointed Odesa region governor by the then-President Petro Poroshenko in 2015 after accepting Ukrainian citizenship and renouncing his Georgian one to avoid extradition to Georgia where he was wanted.

He resigned in late 2016 after accusing Poroshenko among others of hampering his anti-corruption initiatives. He was stripped of Ukrainian citizenship in July 2017 for “providing false information in official documents”.

Following an operation in Kyiv that involved camouflaged men and firearms, he was eventually captured and deported to Poland in February 2018 and remained stateless until now.