WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2019
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Saakashvili declines prosecutor questions
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, Dec. 18 - Ukrainian opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili appeared at the Prosecutor-General's Office in Kyiv on Monday but refused to answer questions from investigators, RFE/RL reported.

Ukrainian authorities have accused the former Georgian president and ex-Ukrainian governor of abetting an alleged criminal group led by former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after his ouster in February 2014. They also have suggested that protests led by Saakashvili are part of a Russian plot against Ukraine.

Saakashvili has strongly denied all the charges.

Outside the Prosecutor-General's Office in the Ukrainian capital, Saakashvili told reporters he would give testimony only when the case is handed over to the Ukrainian Security Service, "as required by law," Interfax reported.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor-general said Saakashvili had "disrupted the investigative procedure" by failing to be questioned by the investigator who summoned him, according to Interfax.

Meanwhile, Western diplomats have expressed concern after Saakashvili supporters briefly attempted to seize a public building in Kyiv during a rally to demand the impeachment of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Saakashvilis followers marched through Kyiv on December 17 and then rallied with him on Independence Square to call for Poroshenko to be officially removed from office.

During the rally, Saakashvili suggested setting up a headquarters for the protest in the October Palace, a performing arts and conference center overlooking the square.

People in the crowd shattered windows and tried to break the doors down to the building but were prevented by police from getting inside.

At the time, hundreds of children were reported to be attending an event in the October Palace.

The attempt to seize the building drew rebukes from some Western diplomats.

On Twitter, Canadian Ambassador Roman Waschuk said that "attempts to seize and damage public buildings are an abuse of the right to peaceful protest."

After the protesters' attempts to enter the building failed, Saakashvili said he wanted to "rent two rooms there" and that the clashes were "President Poroshenko's game and provocation."

"I denounce any [attempts] to break windows, because once there are millions of us, these doors and these windows will open themselves. We don't need to break them, people, Saakashvili added in an interview with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. (rfe/ez)

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