Former Georgian president gets Ukrainian citizenship back

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, has been given his Ukrainian citizenship back by the country's new president.

MOSCOW -- Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, has been given his Ukrainian citizenship back by the country's new president.

Saakashvili had publicly supported Zelenskiy's presidential bid and expressed hope that he would be allowed back once Zelenskiy assumes office.

Saakashvili said in an interview with the Georgian TV station Rustavi 2 that he will fly to the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Wednesday — for the first time since 2017.

Saakashvili, who was Georgia's president between 2008 and 2013, got a new political life in Ukraine when Poroshenko appointed him governor of the Odessa region in 2015.

Saakashvili, however, was pushed out of office a year later following a spat with Poroshenko who was unhappy with the pace of reforms in the Black Sea port city of Odessa under his leadership.

Saakashvili, in turn, accused Poroshenko of helping some of Ukraine's richest men keep their foothold in this notoriously corrupt region.

Following his dismissal in 2016, Saakashvili led anti-government protests and criticized the president for failing to stem corruption.

Several months later he was detained and deported to Poland. Most recently, he has been living in the Netherlands as his wife is Dutch.