Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili has appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ‘de-escalate the situation’ against him in a letter. Poroshenko’s press secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko posted a photo of the hand-written letter on Facebook on December 19. Earlier this month, Saakashvili, who now runs an opposition party in Ukraine, was arrested in Kyiv on charges of abetting a criminal group. The judge in court set him free from detention a few days later.
Saakashvili confirmed that he did send the letter to Poroshenko. In a December 20 video on his Facebook page, Saakashvili explained his decision to send his political rival the letter.
“I wrote this letter after prison and winning in court, after I had consultations with leaders of diplomatic missions. Together with the diplomats we decided to start negotiations with Poroshenko in order to make a peaceful decision in this climate of political crisis and find the kind of solution which would serve for the good for Ukraine,” Saakashvili said.
Poroshenko’s press secretary Tsegolko says he published the letter due to high public interest.
The letter in full reads:
“Dear Mr. President,
Despite all the events that occured in the recent past, I am not in an aggressive mood. You know me well and you should be guessing that accusing me in cooperating with the Federal Security Service of Russia is not just absurd, but it also makes Ukraine’s enemies happy.
Of course I have made and still make many political mistakes, however now I am certain more than ever that it is needed to eradicate this destabilization and for the de-escalation of the situation.
I am ready to meet your representatives for negotiations anytime.”
Before the letter was public, Saakashvili had said in an interview that he refused to meet Poroshenko even though he was offered to do so:
“I did what winners and people believing in their decisions do. I told him: ‘You have wrongfully accused me. You should’ve known that it is an insult to call me Russia’s agent.’ I was told that the President would be ready to meet me in a few days, however I told them that things wouldn’t work out this way. I am not the kind of person who enters somewhere from the back door,” Saakashvili had told Ukrainian media.
On December 19, Saakashvili’s New Forces party said they will not be holding any more demonstrations. The party was criticized by diplomatic representatives in Ukraine from the US, Canada, and the UK after they led a major demonstration on December 17 calling for Poroshenko’s impeachment. The protesters tried to forcefully enter the October Palace in Kyiv; 32 policemen were injured in clashes with the demonstrators.
Saakashvili earlier held a demonstration on December 5 calling for Poroshenko’s impeachment, after he foiled arrest when his supporters pulled him from a police wagon. He was arrested again but released on December 11, when the court did not satisfy the motion of the Prosecutor's Office demanding Saakashvili be put under house arrest. The New York Times afterwards published an open letter by Saakashvili in which he talks about how he came to be Poroshenko’s rival and his political plans.