Former Georgian President and ex-governor of Odesa Oblast Mikheil Saakashvili arrived at Kyiv Boryspil airport on May 29, one day after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy restored his Ukrainian citizenship.

He flew on the LOT low-cost airline from Warsaw, Poland, and was cheered upon arrival by a crowd of his supporters with music and shouts of “Misha! Misha!”

Saakashvili, who has studied in Kyiv and supported Ukraine’s pro-Western revolutions in 2004 and 2014, was granted Ukrainian citizenship by former President Petro Poroshenko in 2015. But he lost it two years later after he started sharply criticizing Poroshenko and his allies for corruption.

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He was forcibly deported from the country in 2018, a move which Poroshenko’s critics deemed a political repression.

On May 26, Zelenskiy, who is just in his second week in office, restored his citizenship, for which Saakashvili thanked him and promised to help the new president “to unleash (Ukraine’s) huge potential.”

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Upon arrival, Saakashvili was met by a crowd of supporters and journalists. He thanked and praised Zelenskiy for keeping his promise to restore his citizenship.

Saakashvili, who was an important opposition leader before he was sent out of Ukraine, also said that he wasn’t seeking any government positions.

“I’m not having negotiations about any positions,” he told the crowd standing outside the airport.

However, some are floating his name as a possible candidate for prosecutor general to replace Yuriy Lutsenko, who has not prosecuted anybody of significance for corruption. Lutsenko claimed he would leave his post after the parliamentary elections scheduled for July 21.

Saakashvili, who has a political party in Ukraine, the Movement of New Forces, also claimed he personally wouldn’t participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

However, his ally David Sakvarelidze, a former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor general who now leads the Movement of New Forces, earlier told Ukrainian news website Apostrophe that the party would run for parliament on July 21.

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Saakashvili also said he had many supporters and was happy to return to the country he loves, and to do so as its citizen. 

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