of Interior of Ukraine Аcademician Bogomolets St., 10, Kyiv, 01601, Ukraine
On September 11, 2017, in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, a briefing for journalists was held, dedicated to the incident on September 10 at the Ukrainian state border checkpoint "Shegeni." During the briefing, the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov stated that no one has the right to violate the law. This applies equally to Ukrainian MPs, opposition politicians, public figures and to those citizens who are addicted to earning easy money by playing the crowd during political actions.
On September 10, 2017, the ex-head of the Odessa Regional State Administration, and ex-President of Georgia Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili, who has been previously stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by the President's Decree, arrived at the Shageni checkpoint in the Lviv region to cross the State Border of Ukraine. A group of violent people who have come to the checkpoint from the inside of Ukraine put up a fight with representatives of the National Police and the Border Service. Then they broke into the checkpoint and facilitated the illegal crossing of the state border by a group of people, including Mr.Mikhail Saakashvili, people's deputies of Ukraine, journalists and other persons. According to the State Border Service, some 60 persons illegally crossed the border.
"I tried to do my best to protect the border guards and policemen from the political implications of this incident. I forbade both of them to use weapons and apply force to participants of mass actions near the border. We separated the flows of people, considered the logistics and, above all, thought about the safety of all gathered people. We worked all day to localize the conflict and prevent a provocative clash between Mr. Saakashvili's supporters and opponents. We blocked and detained dozens of provocateurs who came to the border: people of "sporty type". I was only afraid of one thing: a violent provocation. And I did not care about the status of Mr. Saakashvili as a stateless person - let the court handle this. It was important for me not to allow a violent clash and bloodshed. Provocation still took place. The blood was not spilled - it's good, but the price of all that happened was too high!", - stressed the head of the MIA.
Arsen Avakov compared yesterday's events with the seizure of checkpoints on the Ukrainian border by the pro-Russian militants in 2014:
"Yesterday, the Majorsky border checkpoint in the Donbass was subjected to fire by the enemy. There, we know how to hide from the enemy's fire and how to respond, and thus the shelling hurt no one. And at the same time, the Shegeni checkpoint was stormed... I looked at the shots of the running crowd, intoxicated with impunity, giggling and crushing the border guards and vividly remembered Izvarino checkpoint in 2014... This analogy hurt me - forgive me - but the deja vu was too explicit, only the flags were not Russian...".
As a result of the storming of the border checkpoint, PMs illegally led some 60 people to the Ukrainian territory, including Mr. Saakashvili and several foreigners. After the incident, twenty-one law enforcement officers applied for medical treatment. In respect of the organization of the breakthrough of the border, the National Police opened criminal proceedings under CCU Art. 332: "Illegal transportation of persons across the state border of Ukraine". An investigation and a procedure for collecting facts and evidence have been initiated.
"I am sure that the prosecutor's office will support us. As well as courts. The commission of this offense is punishable by up to nine years of imprisonment with revocation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities. Each person who took part in breaking the border and attacking border guards and police will be identified and punished by the Law. Mr. Saakashvili and all those who illegally crossed the border should immediately choose one of two options: to arrive at the Shegeni checkpoint and pass the registration procedure and/or to arrive at the State Migration Service office. All participants in the "breakthrough", including MPs, have to report to the police for testimony. Regardless of the behavior of the persons mentioned above, the Border Guard Service, the National Police, and the Migration Service are carrying out the necessary legal proceedings” - Arsen Avakov said.
The head of the MIA believes that such actions of politicians, regardless of their political affiliation, can only lead to one thing - the destruction of the institutional structure of the state.
"Such provocations mean the destruction of the very foundation on which we build our country, regardless of which political group is in power. And if this foundation will be destroyed, whatever the reason for this - then we are not a state, but a crowd of people worthlessly drifting through the life in the Ukrainian territory... And then the question is only when the Great Russia chauvinist or European nationalist will use this situation to his advantage. The attack on the basic institutions of the state for the sake of immediate political interests is criminal and irresponsible! Messieurs politicians, do not you dare to accept it, planning your political game and career! DO NOT HORSE-TRADE UKRAINE for the sake of personal political gains! Both you and I are just a small episode in the history of a great country. And whatever will happen - either you will be in power or opposition - please, risk and sacrifice your personal position, but never dare to go for broke, jeopardizing the interests of Ukraine!" - said Arsen Avakov.
Department of Communications of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
Photo by Andrii Novitskii