THE HAGUE – The former president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, who had been deported from Ukraine after being accused by authorities of attempting to topple the country’s current government, arrived on Wednesday in Amsterdam with his family to settle in the Netherlands, according to a statement by his attorney.
Saakashvili, who is currently stateless, was deported from Ukraine on Monday afternoon and placed on a chartered flight to Poland after his arrest by border police officers at a restaurant in Kiev.
Saakashvili opted to relocate to Holland, as his wife Sandra Roelofs, with whom he has two children, is a Dutch national, according to his lawyer Oscar Hammerstein, who accompanied the family to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.
The politician already possessed his Dutch residency papers as his case has been cleared and approved by the Netherlands’ Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Last November, Saakashvili entered Ukraine illegally from Poland and was deported back to Poland following a Ukrainian court order.
The ex-president, wanted by Georgia’s current government on various charges – which he claims are politically motivated – was appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa province by the incumbent Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, after fleeing Georgia.
However, he became Poroshenko’s most outspoken detractor in July 2017 after the president revoked Saakashvili’s Ukrainian passport.
This left Saakashvili stateless, as he had been forced to renounce his Georgian nationality before being granted Ukrainian citizenship.
In the past months, Saakashvili had led numerous protests demanding the Ukrainian government’s resignation.
The nation’s authorities, in turn, accused him of instigating a coup and of being involved in “criminal organizations” seeking to topple the legitimate government.