Ukrainian president arrives in Lithuania

While Saakashvili has a core following, he enjoys limited support in Ukraine.

A bill submitted jointly by President Petro Poroshenko's ruling party and its coalition partner granting parliament the right to remove corruption investigators appeared to be the last straw for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The president, his former patron, rescinded his Ukrainian citizenship in July while he was out of the country.

Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Poroshenko in July while overseas and is now stateless.

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"Ukraine needs to ensure the independence of the NABU in such a way that politicians can not influence the NABU's work". The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has come under political pressure since launching a series of investigations against top officials in the past year.

"Corrupt Empire Strikes Back" read the headline of the English language newspaper Kyiv Post on Friday.

Police raided a protest tent camp near parliament early on December 6, but Saakashvili was not detained and a 24-hour deadline for him to turn himself in passed without visible action by the authorities.

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On Friday Poroshenko said he would soon introduce a draft law to set up such a court, taking into account recommendations by the Venice Commission, a leading European rights watchdog.

Poroshenko vowed Saakashvili would be given a fair trial.

Saakashvili became a regional governor in Ukraine in 2015 at Poroshenko's invitation but they later fell out, with the former Georgian leader accusing the president of corruption.

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Law enforcement officers searched Saakashvili's apartment in Kyiv on December 5, dragged him off the roof, and bundled him into a auto.


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