The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday that he had ordered to expel Georgia’s ambassador to Kiev in protest at the deteriorating health of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who also holds Ukrainian citizenship and who appeared on the same day in Tbilisi very emaciated.
Zelensky said on his Telegram channel, “Today I asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon the Georgian ambassador, inform him of our strong protest, and ask him to leave Ukraine within 48 hours”.
Zelensky urged Georgia, the former Soviet Republic in South Caucasus to rescue its former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is sick in custody.
Zelensky said in his daily video message on Monday evening, that the 55-year-old man, a Ukrainian citizen, must extradited to Ukraine to receive the necessary treatment and care.
Zelensky called on the international community not to ignore the situation, but to “save this man”.
“No government in Europe has the right to execute people… Life is a basic European value,” he said.
Zelensky has repeatedly noted that Saakashvili is under slowly death process in Georgian custody, describing it as a de facto public execution.
He instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, to express the protest of the Kiev government to the Georgian ambassador to Ukraine and propose to leave Ukraine, so that the Georgian diplomat could hold talks in Tbilisi with is government.
Saakashvili had earlier been seen via video link from the hospital to attend a court hearing on Monday.
Pictures of the weak and emaciated politician shared on social networks, raising concerns about his health.
His brother, David Saakashvili, said that the former president is constantly losing weight, is in danger of death, and may have been poisoned.
Saakashvili’s family says he’s not receiving proper medical treatment.
Saakashvili was president of Georgia, which borders Russia, from 2004 to 2013.
He pushed pro-Western reforms, and managed to turn the country in short time in a very modern democratic, along with fighting corruption.
However, he involved his country in 2008 into a massive crisis with Russia, against the backdrop of the secession crisis of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which led to the outbreak of war in 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and helped the two separatist regions gain independence.
After that arduous stage in Georgia, unrest arose in the country, which reached the point of popular protests, which led to the arrival of the Georgian opposition to power and the overthrow of the rule of Saakashvili, who left for Ukraine.
Later, he obtained Ukrainian citizenship, and was later appointed governor of the Odessa region, as the Ukrainian authorities sought his help after 2015, in developing the system in the country and fighting corruption, which didn’t please some of the corrupt power centers in Ukraine.
He later forced to leave Ukraine to return to Georgia in 2021, where the Georgian authorities arrested him.
He sentenced to prison in absentia on charges of corruption and incitement to bodily harm.
During his time in Ukraine, Saakashvili known to be one of closest allies and supporters of Volodymyr Zelensky, who granted him Ukrainian citizenship, and he served in official posts in Ukraine under Zelensky’s presidency.