Georgian ambassador says he will leave Ukraine under Zelenskyy’s order

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Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine, ordered home by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a disagreement over Georgia’s jailed former leader, told media on Wednesday he would comply with the order, though he described Kyiv’s stand as “misguided.”

“Forty-eight hours runs out tomorrow at 12 noon. I will try my very best to leave Ukraine by 12,” Ambassador Giorgi Zakarashvili told Georgia’s Rustavi-2 television in reports published in Ukrainian and Russian media.

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Zakarashvili was summoned to Ukraine’s foreign ministry in connection with Kyiv’s complaint that Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili was being refused permission to leave the country for medical treatment.

The diplomat told Rustavi-2 that the request for him to leave for 48 hours of consultations would hurt relations and was “misguided” as Georgia supported Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili earlier criticized the order imposed on the ambassador as “incomprehensible and baseless,” but said the envoy would soon return to his post in Kyiv.

The complaints, he said, were unfounded as Georgia took seriously its treatment of all inmates, including Saakashvili.

Saakashvili, president of ex-Soviet Georgia from 2004 to 2013, is serving a six-year sentence for abuse of power, a charge he and his supporters say was politically motivated.

In a video shot during a court hearing this week, an emaciated Saakashvili lifted his shirt to show protruding ribs.

Saakashvili has asked to be transferred abroad for treatment. He has staged multiple hunger strikes while in prison and alleges he has been poisoned.

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