News Politics, 13/09/2017

Kharkivites Respond to Saakashvili’s ‘Breakthrough’

Yesterday, a group of Kharkivites, who had taken part in the action of supporting Mikheil Saakashvili at the Ukrainian border, came back home.

The ex-governor of Odesa region and the leader of the political party Movement of New Forces entered Ukraine by crossing the border without passport control in Lviv region on September 10.

“Actually we are not supporting Saakashvili or other politicians or parties. But we had that special feeling that we need to do something about the current situation when the Ukrainian President deprives his opponent of citizenship and blocks him from coming into Ukraine. It was not fair. We felt the same on Maidan in 2013-2014,” says the civic activist Svitlana Gnypa, who spent two days in the tents near the border’s checkpoint.

Svitlana, who is the Godmother of the Heavenly Hundred Hero Vlad Zubenko, specifies that their action was “a kind of protest against depriving anyone of Ukrainian citizenship.”

According to Irakli Imnadze, the regional head of Saakashvili’s party, about 70 activists came from Kharkiv to Krakovets checkpoint on September 9 and 10. Some of them arrived with the help of different organizations but a lot of people came by their own accord, everyone stayed in a camping site.

Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine David Sakvarelidze, several MPs, including Yulia Tymoshenko and the Donbas battalion joined Saakashvili’s supporters in Krakovets.

Also, some participants implied that hundreds of “titushki” were brought to the border to fight with the activists; however, they were stopped by the police.

Later the activists moved to Mostytska railway station after it was reported that Saakashvili was coming to Ukraine from Poland on the Intercity train. When the train was stopped for four hours and Saakashvili took the bus, the activists went to Shehin to meet him. Finally, the checkpoint was announced to be “mined,” and Saakashvili crossed the border with his supporters without customs control.

“Our action was peaceful, no one was hurt and there was no violence from the border guards and police. This was like a meeting of old friends,” says Irakli Imnadze.

At the same time, a number of Kharkiv civic activists and public leaders call the action of meeting Saakashvili and a clamor about his citizenship and his coming a “political circus” and a “shame.” In the social networks, they articulate the idea that Russian secret services use Saakashvili’s supporters to “rock the boat” and to destabilize the political and social situation in Ukraine.

Also, today the council of Kharkiv Euromaidan published an official statement “The Border of Patience is Violated” where they called the people of Ukraine to unite despite the efforts of different politicians to divide them in order to preserve the vicious system of corruption.

The council members require to carry out a legal examination of the border crossing and the Przemysl-Kyiv train blocking which made several hundred passengers hostages to “internecine political wars.” At the same time, they claim that the events on September 10 at the Ukrainian-Polish border “became an indicator of a deep institutional crisis.”

“We offer the volunteers, veterans and non-governmental organizations to launch a nation-wide dialogue on the organization of the National Unity Forum to put forward the requirements for the prompt implementation of real reforms,” the statement says.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Vasyl Ponomariov