Saakashvili: Ex-Georgia leader detained by police in Kiev

"They have detained Mikheil Saakashvili", and called for his supporters to protest.

Ukrainian police recaptured the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday, prompting further protests in central Kiev by his supporters who freed him from police custody earlier this week.

General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, who says Saakashvili is suspected of assisting a criminal organization, said the opposition leader had been detained by police in Kyiv and was in a temporary detention facility.

Television footage showed a large number of police in riot gear outside the centre and a few dozen protesters, but the situation appeared relatively calm.

Protester Igor Ognyov, from the eastern city of Sumy, told The Associated Press that the police stormed the camp before dawn on Wednesday. After he was freed, he urged the crowd to impeach Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, a former ally.

But the two men fell out, and Saakashvili resigned from his post previous year, accusing Poroshenko of corruption and blocking reforms.

While Saakashvili has a core base of supporters, he enjoys limited support across Ukraine.

"I'm ready to host their investigators here at the camp", he said.

Prosecutors, who say Mr Saakashvili is being funded by businessmen close to Russian Federation, released audio and video recordings which they say proved he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the criminal group.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday the global lender was "deeply concerned by recent events in Ukraine that could roll back progress that has been made in setting up independent institutions to tackle high-level corruption". Less than 2 percent of voters would back his party in elections, according to a recent survey.

  • Joey Payne