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Saakashvili Visits Lithuania, Rallies Outside Russian Embassy

Mikheil Saakashvili says he will fight to regain his Ukrainian citizenship.

Former Georgian President and Ukrainian regional governor Mikheil Saakashvili has made a visit to Lithuania, the latest stop in his travels since Ukraine said on July 26 that it was stripping him of his citizenship.

Saakashvili joined Lithuanian politicians and activists who demonstrated in front of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius on August 8 to mark the anniversary of the five-day war in which Russian forces drove deep into Georgia in 2008.

Responding to a proposal by European Parliament member Petras Austrevicius that he be granted Lithuanian citizenship, Saakashvili said he did not need it.

He said that he had been traveling on his Ukrainian passport and that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's decision to strip him of citizenship -- which came while he was in the United States -- was illegal.

Saakashvili told RFE/RL on August 7, in Poland, that he will fight in court to regain his Ukrainian citizenship.

The reformist, pro-Western president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 after he took Ukrainian citizenship in order to become governor of the Odesa region.

He resigned as Odesa governor in November 2016, complaining of official obstruction of his anticorruption efforts, accusing Poroshenko of dishonesty, and charging that the government in Kyiv was sabotaging crucial reforms.

A deputy chief of Ukraine's Border Service, Vasyl Servatyuk, said on August 8 that if Saakashvili tried to return to Ukraine, his passport would be confiscated and he would be barred from entering the country.

With reporting by BNS, UNIAN, RIA Novosti, and Delfi
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