The former president of Georgia and citizen of Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili, is leaving politics to preserve his life, his lawyer, Valery Gelbakhiani, announced in an interview with the Georgian opposition TV channel Imedi on July 30.

The attorney claims, “The goal is to preserve his life, to survive. Nothing else matters, including politics. He leaves Georgian politics in general, not only from the United National Movement Party.”

However, Saakashvili himself did not comment on his lawyer’s statement.

Mikheil Saakashvili served as the president of Georgia for two consecutive terms in 2004-2013, and left the country after his resignation. He also has Ukrainian citizenship and in 2015-2016 was the governor of Ukraine’s Odesa Oblast until his ugly falling out with President Petro Poroshenko who stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship.

Under President Volodymyr Zelensky Saakashvili was officially rehabilitated in Ukraine and in June 2020 placed at the head the Ukraine National Reform Council.

Saakashvili has been behind bars since his secret return to Georgia in October 2021 on the eve of local elections. He was immediately arrested and, when charged for illegal border crossing.

He has repeatedly announced hunger strikes to protest his imprisonment on political charges and has reportedly developed serious health problems that require treatment abroad.

On May 12, Saakashvili was transferred to the civil clinic “Vivamed” in Tbilisi for examination. The politician’s mother, Giuli Alasania, reported that doctors said her son was diagnosed with nine illnesses.

David Sakvarelidze, the former deputy general prosecutor of Ukraine, announced on May 25, there had probably been an attempt to assassinate Saakashvili by poisoning.

By July 7, a second Saakashvili attorney, Shalva Khachapuridze, reported that Saakashvili’s state of health was extremely serious. In his opinion, Saakashvili should be taken abroad for treatment.

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