Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, was given back his Ukrainian citizenship by the country's new president.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the comedian who took power in Ukraine last week following his convincing election victory, signed a decree yesterday that gave back Saakashvili his Ukrainian citizenship. He had been stripped of it in 2017 by Zelenskiy's predecessor Petro Poroshenko after a political row.
Saakashvili had publicly supported Zelenskiy's presidential bid and expressed hope that he would be allowed back once Zelenskiy assumes office.
Saakashvili, president of his native Georgia for nine years until 2013, moved to Ukraine after a popular uprising there and served under Poroshenko as a regional governor from 2015 to 2016. Georgian authorities stripped Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship in December 2015 on grounds that Georgia does not allow dual citizenship.
Following souring relations with the former Ukrainian president over corruption scandals and reform efforts, he was detained in Kiev and flown to Poland. Ukraine's border service banned Saakashvili from entering Ukraine until Feb. 13, 2021. He currently resides in the Netherlands, his wife's native country.