• Home
  • Ukraine Tells Georgian Ambassador to Go Home for 'Consultations'

Ukraine Tells Georgian Ambassador to Go Home for 'Consultations'

Following a court video showing jailed Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili looking emaciated, Ukraine has summoned the Georgian ambassador to appeal to his country.

Ukraine Tells Georgian Ambassador to Go Home for 'Consultations'

Georgia's jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili appears on a screen via a video link from a clinic during a court hearing in the case of the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests in 2007, in Tbilisi, Georgia July 3, 2023. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's foreign ministry summoned Georgia's ambassador on Tuesday to protest against the treatment of jailed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and told him to go back to Tbilisi to resolve the situation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the Georgian authorities on Monday to allow Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship, to come to Kyiv for medical treatment.

Zelenskyy made the appeal after a video circulated showing Saakashvili looking emaciated during a court hearing and lifting his shirt to show protruding ribs.

"The Georgian diplomat (ambassador) was told that such treatment of Mikheil Saakashvili was absolutely unacceptable. The Georgian government should stop the abuse of the Ukrainian citizen," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"In this regard, it was proposed to Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine George Zakarashvili to return to Tbilisi for consultations to find ways of solving the situation."

It was not immediately clear when the envoy might leave Ukraine, or whether he had already done so.

Saakashvili, who was Georgia's president from 2004 to 2013, is serving a six-year sentence for abuse of power, a charge he and supporters say was politically motivated.

He received Ukrainian citizenship while working under the previous Ukrainian government in several top regional positions. He has asked to be transferred abroad for treatment, has staged hunger strikes in prison and alleges he has been poisoned.

Saakashvili, now 55, was the president of Georgia when Russia invaded the country in 2008. Georgia's relations with Moscow have improved since then, with Tbilisi resuming direct flights to its neighbour, a move that Kyiv criticised.

Zelenskyy, whose own country has been invaded by Russia, said of "the Kremlin, sadly at the hands of the Georgian government, is killing Mikheil Saakashvili." The Kremlin did not immediately respond to the accusation.

Saakashvili was first tried and sentenced in absentia for abuse of power on cases related to presidential pardons issued while he was in office, and for allegedly ordering the beating of a political opponent.

He is now on trial on charges, which he denies, of ordering an anti-government rally to be violently dispersed in 2007.