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Posted by On 11:30 AM

Former Georgia leader claims political plot to force him from Ukraine

Ukraine Former Georgia leader claims political plot to force him from Ukraine

Ukrainian court rejected Mikheil Saakashvili’s appeal for protection against extradition

The former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili
The former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in Kiev, on the day of his court hearing. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says he is the victim of an international plot to “squeeze” him out of Ukraine, where he has emerged as a vocal critic of the country’s president, Petro Poroshenko.

A court in Kiev, the Ukrain ian capital, rejected on Monday Saakashvili’s appeal for protection against possible extradition to Georgia, where he is ruled to have illegally pardoned in 2008 four police officers accused of murder. The Ukrainian court ruling came a month after a judge in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, sentenced him to three years in jail in absentia.

Saakashvili, who ruled Georgia for nine years until 2013, denies the charges, and alleges that the extradition request and prison sentence were orchestrated jointly by Poroshenko and the former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire businessmen and political foe.

“The Georgian authorities never asked for my extradition when I was in America or in Europe,” said Saakashvili, 50, during an interview at the offices of his Movement of New Forces opposition party in central Kiev, a short walk from Ukraine’s parliament. “They only did it when I returned to Ukraine because Poroshenko asked them to.”

He a lleged that the Kiev court’s decision to reject his appeal against extradition came after Ukraine had “begged” several European countries to take him. “The countries said: ‘Yes, fine, we can take him, but he has to make a formal request.’”

The Ukrainian justice minister, Pavlo Petrenko, denies that the extradition proceedings against Saakashvili, who is currently stateless, are politically motivated.

Poroshenko, who was elected president in 2014 after a revolution that toppled Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader, Viktor Yanukovych, appointed the fiery Georgian-born politician as the governor of the Black Sea region of Odessa in 2015.

But Saakashvili resigned as Odessa’s governor in November 2016 in protest at what he said was ingrained high-level corruption and launched a campaign to oust Poroshenko. In July, Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship while the former Georgian leader was in the US. “Poroshenko hoped that I woul dn’t try to come back to Ukraine,” said Saakashvili.

In an audacious move, Saakashvili was in September bundled over the border into Ukraine by hundreds of supporters. In December, he was dragged from the roof of his apartment by masked security service agents only to be freed shortly afterwards by a crowd of opposition activists amid chaotic scenes.

“I thought they were sending me back to Georgia. I went on to the roof because that was the only place my cellphone would work. They were jamming it inside the apartment,” Saakashvili said.

He was later rearrested and charged with involvement in a Russian-backed plot to destabilise Ukraine, an accusation that Saakashvili, a longtime Kremlin critic, dismisses as politically motivated “lies”. A judge in Kiev rejected the prosecutor’s arrest to place him under house arrest, however, ordering him instead to observe a nightly curfew that expired on Tuesday. On 17 December, Saakashvili led several thousand people on a protest that resulted in brief clashes with security services in the Ukrainian capital. He also headed a similarly sized rally on Sunday to call for Poroshenko’s impeachment.

Saakashvili alleges his Georgian bodyguards, friends and supporters have been kidnapped by Ukrainian security services, tortured, and deported to Georgia in recent months: “They were seized at home, put on an security service bus and put on a special flights or ferries to Georgia.”

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Valeriya Lutkovska, said in November that three Georgian citizens with ties to Saakashvili had been illegally deported without a court order by Ukraine’s national police.

Although opinion polls indicated that Saakashvili was Ukraine’s most popular politician during his governorship of Odessa, with approval ratings of over 40%, his ratings have slid to less than half that figure since his resignation. Poroshenko, who many Ukrainians say has betrayed the co untry’s 2013-14 revolution, also has approval ratings of around 15%.

“It will be a big problem for the Georgian and the Ukrainian authorities if I am extradited,” Saakashvili said. “There will be a huge outcry, huge protests in Ukraine. This is not just about me; this is about injustice. And Ukrainians hate injustice.”

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Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine


Posted by On 11:30 AM

Ukraine - Humanitarian Response Plan 2018

09 Feb 2018 Ukraine - Humanitarian Response Plan 2018 Reportfrom Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Published on 08 Feb 2018 â€" View Original preview Download PDF (640.56 KB)

to assist
66 000 people

FAO requires
USD 5 million

January â€" December 2018

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine â€" now in its fourth year â€" is affecting 4.4 million people. Some 1.6 million people need food security and livelihoods assistance. The most vulnerable groups are single-headed households with children, elderly people, women-headed households and households with no employment.


FAO is working with partners in the Food Security and Livelihood Cluster to:

• Provide immediate food assistance to the most vulnerable to avoid irreversible negative coping mechanisms.

• Assist farming families to support their household food security needs with self-production and channelling surplus to functional markets for income generation.

• Provide early recovery livelihoods and income-generation support to conflict-affected populations, including displaced people and host families, to strengthen their resilience.

Primary country

  • Content format:

    • Appeal
  • Language:

    • English
  • Theme:

    • Agriculture
    • Coordination
    • Food and Nutrition
    • Recovery and Reconstruction
  • Vulnerable groups:

    • Aged Persons
    • Children
    • IDPs
    • Women
Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine

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Posted by On 11:29 AM

France seeks closer ties with Russia despite tensions over Syria, Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed cooperating more closely to resolve the Syrian crisis in a phone call Friday, as France tries to smooth ties with Russia and move beyond years of tensions over Syria and Ukraine.

Macron is making his first presidential trip to Russia in May. The two leaders talked Friday about preparations for the visit, where Macron plans to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and to meet with Putin.


The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin and Macron underlined during their call the need for developing closer cooperation on Syria. The statement did not elaborate.

Macron's office said he pushed for more robust Syrian peace talks â€" notably after a Russia-sponsored effort last month boycotted by the Syrian opposition.

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Macron also pressed Putin to stop "intolerable degradation of the humanitarian situation" in regions of Syria that were pummeled by Syrian and Russian airstrikes in recent days, according to a statement from his office.

The presidents discussed another sore point in relations: the conflict in Ukraine. They stressed the need to enforce the 2015 Minsk peace agreement that was sponsored by France and Germany.

Putin and Macron also hailed a potentially problematic project launched Friday to encourage contacts among Russian and French citizens. Called the Trianon Dialogue, the initiative appears aimed at minimizing European sanctions against Russia for its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The French-Russian project is aimed at encouraging interactions through joint theater productions, school trips, sister city agreements and real estate investments.


Yet geopolitic al tensions threaten to complicate the effort.

Among the Russians overseeing the Trianon Dialogue are magnate Gennady Timchenko, a longtime associate of Putin's, and former railways chief Vladimir Yakunin â€" both targets of U.S. sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine. A former ambassador who is an outspoken supporter of Russia's bombings of Syria and annexation of Crimea also is involved.

An official in Macron's office acknowledged that "we may run into difficulties" in juggling the project's open-arms mission with today's East-West tensions. The official said the French side would remain "vigilant" to prevent Putin's administration from using the event for political ends.

Macron has remained publicly committed to the European Union's sanctions on Russia, but the Trianon Dialogue could be seen as undermining them.

Aides said he pushed for the project "to encourage Fra nco-Russian economic relations" despite curbs on trade prompted by the sanctions and a Russian embargo.

Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine

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Posted by On 11:29 AM

Mikheil Saakashvili blasts corruption in Ukraine

Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgian president and current leader of an opposition party in Ukraine, has accused Ukrainian officials of wanting to "get rid" of him, days after a court rejected his plea for protection from possible extradition.

Saakashvili - who is wanted in Georgia on four charges, including abuse of office - and faces separate criminal charges in Ukraine, told Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera's UpFront current affairs show that Ukrainian prosecutors have no evidence against him.

"The reason why they want to get rid of me is that they don't have a real case against me, [and] because I crossed the path of oligarchs that want to further plunder the country," he said.

"[Ukraine] is potentially the wealthiest country in Europe because of resources and right now it's the poorest country in Europe, GDP-wise, because seven oligarchs hold hos tage the entire wealth of the country and they regard me as their main enemy."

On January 5, a Ukrainian court rejected Saakashvili's request for protection from extradition, denying him the status of a person in need of sanctuary.

Saakashvili told Al Jazeera he would continue to refuse to return to Georgia to stand trial, citing concerns that he may be placed in "preliminary detention for political purposes".

In July 2017, Ukraine stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship while he was visiting the United States, rendering him stateless.

Saakashvili had already surrendered his Georgian citizenship on account of Ukraine forbidding the possession of dual citizenship.

In September, he re-entered Ukraine by force at a crossing on the Polish border, two months before Ukrainian police failed in an attempt to arrest him in Kiev, the capital.

Ukrainian prosecutors accuse Saakashvili of having assisted a criminal organisation, a charge he claims is a politically motivated attempt to undermine his campaign to win the Ukrainian presidency from incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

Saakashvili has been an outspoken critic of Poroshenko since resigning as governor of the Black Sea Odessa region in November 2016, 18 months after assuming the post, claiming that corruption was stifling his work.

"I stand up for the idea of modernised, democratic, European Ukraine with an economy free of oligarchs [and] free of corruption, because corruption is killing the economy," he told Al Jazeera.

Ukraine was registered as the 131st most corrupt nation of 175 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2016 corruption perceptions index, the highest ranking European country.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine