| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Ex-Georgian leader who lost war against Russia thinks Ukraine will prevail

Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who fought and lost a short war against Russia to reclaim renegade regions, believes Ukraine will defeat Moscow and has hailed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as a “new Churchill.”

During a 2008 war in which Russian forces garrisoned two breakaway regions, Saakashvili, a harsh critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, lost control of roughly one-fifth of Georgian territory.

However, the Georgian politician, who has extensive experience in Ukraine as a regional governor and a senior official on a national reform body, told Reuters that he believed Ukraine could win its own war against Russia.

“Ukraine will emerge as one united nation,” Saakashvili, 54, predicted in a handwritten note sent to Reuters by his lawyers from a Georgian prison cell where he is being held on politically motivated charges.

He gave no specific reasons why Ukraine would defeat Russia.

Saakashvili, who has previously worked with Zelenskiy, was sentenced to six years in prison in absentia in Georgia in 2018 for abusing his office during his presidency. He is currently on trial for attempting to enter Georgia illegally. All charges against him have been dismissed by his defense as politically motivated.

In May 2019, Zelenskiy reinstated Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship, which had been revoked by Zelenskiy’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. A year later, Zelenskiy appointed Saakashvili to a senior position on the country’s National Reform Council. Saakashvili stated that he wishes to return to that position.

  • Reuters