Saakashvili resigns as governor in Ukraine

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Kiev—Georgia’s pro-Western former president Mikheil Saakashvili announced his resignation Monday from his post as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region out of frustration at allegedly being reined in from fighting corruption.
But he had repeated run-ins with some members of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s inner circle and was frequently accused of having outsized political ambitions of his own.
The 48-year-old fluent Ukranian speaker hinted that he was stepping down after 18 months on the job because he was being held back from cracking his whip against graft-driven officials in the Black Sea resort and port city of one million.
Saakashvili wrote on Facebook that his chief of police was the first one in years “who never took bribes”.
“But first, they took away most of his powers, and then they began harassing him from all sides.”
Saakashvili said he had no choice but to resign under the circumstances. But he later told reporters: “We will definitely unite and finish this fight, bringing victory to Ukraine.
“The fight continues,” he said. He also accused Poroshenko of “lying” to him by never keeping his promise to turn the Black Sea region into a tariff-free zone for overseas exports and imports.
Saakashvili’s spokeswoman Daryna Chyzh told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that the former Georgian leader had already written to the president for permission to step down. She added that he would continue serving as Odessa governor until his resignation was accepted.—Agencies

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