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Georgian government again demands extradition of wanted ex-officials who work in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 11, 2024 6:09 PM 2 min read
The Georgian national flag flying on March 24, 2023, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
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The Georgian government again demanded on March 11 the extradition of several ex-officials who work in Ukraine.

The request, which specifically mentioned the former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, was part of a larger statement by the Georgian government that expressed "deep concern regarding the attitude demonstrated by the Ukrainian authorities towards the friendly country of Georgia and its people."

Adeishvili is an ally of ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose supporters consider the cases against the former president and his associates to be fabricated and politically motivated.

The latest diplomatic spat arose after Adeishvili visited Berlin and Brussels as part of a Ukrainian delegation, which the Georgian government said was yet another incident that "blatantly contradict(s) the traditional friendship established between our two countries and peoples."

Georgia's government, under the ruling Georgian Dream party, has taken an inconsistent position toward Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, declining to join sanctions or other international efforts to isolate Russia.

While condemning Russia's all-out war, Georgian officials have also criticized Ukraine.

The two countries have also been at odds over Saakashvili, who is currently imprisoned in Georgia. Saakashvili holds Ukrainian citizenship and previously was the governor of Odesa Oblast after serving as the Georgian president.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian authorities have criticized Georgia over Saakashvili's alleged mistreatment in prison.

Adeishvili, who served in Saakashvili's administration, has been charged with several crimes in Georgia and has been on a wanted list since 2013. He left the country in 2012 and moved to Ukraine and is currently reportedly working as an advisor to Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin.  

Ukraine has previously refused Georgia's request to extradite Adeishvili.

"It is crucial and imperative for the normalization of relations that the Ukrainian authorities extradite the criminals currently holding high positions in their administration to Georgia," the Georgian government's statement concluded.

Georgians likely rank first among foreign fighters killed fighting for Ukraine
Estimates vary, but Georgian media approximates that between 50-60 Georgian soldiers have been killed fighting for Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, making it likely the highest death toll of any foreign nationality fighting on the Ukrainian side.
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