Inside a prison where Russia tortured Ukrainian POWs
The Olenivka POW camp, located in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk Oblast, was a notorious Russian-controlled prison where Ukrainian prisoners of war and civilian hostages from Mariupol have been subjected to torture. The Kyiv Independent’s War Crimes Investigations Unit will name those responsible for torturing prisoners in Olenivka.
Skip to content
Edit post

Saakashvili’s hunger strike in Georgia, explained

by Oleg Sukhov November 20, 2021 12:55 AM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

What is happening in Georgia?

Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a Ukrainian citizen, returned to Georgia on Oct. 1. He was arrested upon arrival and jailed on what he says are trumped-up charges. He has been on a hunger strike since his arrest.

On Nov. 18, he was transferred to an intensive care unit after falling unconscious. Georgia’s human rights ombudsman Nino Lomjaria said he may fall into a coma and die due to his critical condition. On Nov. 19, Saakashvili’s lawyer Nika Gvaramia reportedly said that Saakashvili agreed to be transferred to a military hospital and end his hunger strike.

Why did Saakashvili return to Georgia?

Saakashvili returned to Georgia in an effort to boost support for the opposition in the Oct. 2 local elections. But the plan backfired, and the ruling Georgian Dream party won the elections with nearly 46.7 percent of the vote. The opposition cried foul and tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against Saakashvili’s imprisonment.

Why does Saakashvili say the charges are trumped-up?

After Saakashvili left Georgia in 2013, the Georgian authorities convicted him in absentia on abuse of office charges by pardoning police officers convicted of murder. He was also convicted of ordering the beating of an opposition lawmaker and charged with embezzlement and the unlawful cracking down on protesters.

Interpol and most Western governments don’t recognize the verdicts against Saakashvili. “I knew that I would most likely be arrested based on fabricated, false verdicts, which were issued on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s orders,” he wrote in a letter from jail. “No country in the world except Russia recognizes this sentence.”

How did Ukraine react?

The Ukrainian authorities have pledged to defend Saakashvili's rights and help him return to Ukraine.

What is Saakashvili’s track record in Georgia and Ukraine?

Saakashvili carried out radical free-market and law enforcement reforms during his tenure as president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013.

He later moved to Ukraine. In 2015 then-President Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as governor of Odesa Oblast and granted him Ukrainian citizenship. The two later fell out, with Saakashvili accusing Poroshenko of blocking reforms.

As a result, Ukrainian authorities stripped Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship, prosecuted him in an organized crime case and deported him without a court warrant in 2018. Saakashvili has pointed to Poroshenko’s actions as evidence of a “political vendetta” against him.

After President Volodymyr Zelensky came to power in 2019, Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship was restored and the ex-president was appointed head of the Executive Reform Committee at Zelensky’s administration.

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

3:43 AM

Russia shells 4 communities in Sumy Oblast.

Russian forces attacked four communities along the Sumy Oblast border on Dec. 8, firing 6 times over the course of the day, the Sumy Oblast military administration reported.
Ukraine Daily
News from
Ukraine in your
11:00 PM

Zelensky signs 4 laws required for EU accession.

However, the law on reforming the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) signed by Zelensky failed to fully repeal the so-called Lozovyi's amendments, which are thought to help those suspected or accused of corruption to avoid responsibility.
7:32 PM

International Maritime Organization to send mission to Ukraine.

"This decision, as well as the non-election of Russia to the International Maritime Organization Council for 2023-2024, shows the protection of the international maritime community's right to free navigation of every country," said Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
6:27 PM

Russians, Belarusians to be allowed to compete as neutral athletes at 2024 Paris Olympics.

Under the rules, Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be able to participate as teams nor display any flags or any official identification with either country. Athletes or support personnel who have openly supported the war will not be allowed, as will anyone who has served or is affiliated with either the military or security organizations of Russia or Belarus.
5:39 PM

Prosecutors: Ukrainian spy who coordinated Russian attacks in Odesa identified.

According to the prosecutors, the individual began spying for Russia in October and was tasked with taking pictures of the locations of Ukrainian troops, as well as defense and energy infrastructure in Odesa, which he then sent to his Russian contacts. He also allegedly photographed the aftermath of Russian strikes in the oblast so that future Russian attacks could be corrected for a more accurate result.

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe

Please, enter correct email address


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required


* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.