FUGITIVE former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili has urged Ukrainians to stage a second Maidan sit-in to demand the impeachment of his foe President Petro Poroshenko.
Mr Saakashvili made the call to up to several thousand people gathered in Kiev’s Independence Square on Sunday evening to put pressure on the parliament to pass an impeachment motion.
He urged them to occupy the square from Sunday onwards if MPs do not yield to their demands to oust the billionaire confectionary tycoon.
The only media outlet to report the demonstration, NewsOne television, was besieged by about 150 thugs in military fatigues and ski masks, who blocked the entrance with sandbags and barbed wire.
Mr Poroshenko came to power following the US and EU-backed 2014 Euromaidan coup against elected president Viktor Yanukovych — a movement led by militants of the far-right Svoboda party and the neonazi Right Sector, now absorbed into the armed forces.
US-educated Mr Saakashvili also came to power in a coup — the 2003 “Rose Revolution” that overthrew Georgia’s first post-Soviet president Eduard Shevardnadze.
He drew the country closer to the US, making a bid for Nato membership, before launching the disastrous 2008 war against the autonomous regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia — killing Russian peacekeepers and prompting an overwhelming Russian response.
Mr Saakashvili was a strident supporter of Euromaidan, and the next year was rewarded by Mr Poroshenko with the governorship of the Odessa oblast and Ukrainian citizenship.
But he quit in November 2016, alleging government corruption, and set up an opposition party called the Movement of New Forces.
Mr Poroshenko reacted by stripping Mr Saakashvili of his citizenship in July this year while he was visiting the US.
In September, the former Georgian president forced his way into Ukraine, crossing the border from Poland with a mob of supporters.
Yesterday, left-wing political and economic analyst Vsevolod Stepaniuc said that Euromaidan had meant only that “some thieves exchanged power with others.”
The Ukrainian Academy of Sciences expert added that a “triumvirate of oligarchs, neonazis and criminals, led to power under the strict guidance of the [US] State Department, unleashed a war, destroyed the territorial integrity of the country [and] plunged millions of people into poverty.”
On Saturday, the Ukrainian and US navies conducted joint exercises in the Black Sea.