Saakashvili Lashes Out, Vows To Seek Return To Ukraine

Poroshenko's office confirmed to RFE/RL that Saakashvili's citizenship has been revoked, saying that it was done at the request of the Migration Service. In 2015, Saakashvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship due to receiving a Ukrainian passport.

Mikhail Saakashvili left the governorship of Odessa last autumn and since that time he sided with the opposition and severely criticized President Piotr Poroshenko.

Saakashvili's supporters on July 26 called Poroshenko's action to strip Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship an "unconstitutional" reprisal for Saakashvili's criticisms.

Saakashvili, whose country fought a war with Russian Federation in 2008 while he was president and who is loathed by the Kremlin, was once a natural ally for Poroshenko after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.

The revocation of Saakashvili's citizenship was also reported by the media company "", which is critical of the authorities in Ukraine, citing a source in Poroshenko's administration. Now there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee.

Prior to the confirmation, Saakashvili was defiant when asked on the possibility of losing Ukrainian citizenship by Novoye Vremya website.

"Practically they are forcing Saakashvili to take refuge in America and forget about Ukrainian politics", Leshchenko wrote. A June survey by Ukrainian group Rating gave the party only 2 percent support, while Poroshenko's bloc was on six percent.

"On the field of the battle against corruption, Saakashvili made too many enemies among the ruling Ukrainian elite", Fesenko said.

Saakashvili, 49, is an adamantly pro-Western reformist who was swept to power in Georgia by the peaceful Rose Revolution protests of 2003 and served two terms as president in 2004-2013.

Attacking Poroshenko's record on reforms, Saakashvili said: "Today the entire country has understood the price of your promises "to live anew". He lost his Georgian citizenship in 2015.

Saakashvili notably clashed with Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, whom he accused of funding a private militia through corrupt means.