- Title: Saakashvili resigns as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region
- Date: 7th November 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** SAAKASHVILI SPEAKING U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, COLIN POWELL, LISTENING TBILISI, GEORGIA (FILE - AUGUST 16, 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS HOLDING HANDS UNDER SIGN READING (English): 'STOP RUSSIA' SAAKASHVILI HOLDING HANDS WITH PEOPLE PROTESTERS CARRYING GEORGIAN FLAG SAAKASHVILI HOLDING BOY, SPEAKING ODESSA, UKRAINE (FILE - MAY 30, 2015) (REUTERS) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, AND SAAKASHVILI LISTENING AND STANDING UP, SAAKASHVILI OFFICIALLY BECOMING ODESSA GOVERNOR
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2016 14:10
- Keywords: Ukraine Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili resignation corruption
- Location: ODESSA, UKRAINE AND TBILISI, GEORGIA
- City: ODESSA, UKRAINE AND TBILISI, GEORGIA
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00457G3WP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3.
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili tendered his resignation as governor of Ukraine's southern Odessa region on Monday (November 7), accusing highly-placed officials in Kiev of obstructing his attempts at reform.
Saakashvili, who is widely credited with cracking down on graft when he was president of Georgia from 2004-2013, was appointed Odessa governor in May 2015 by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Saakashvili has since repeatedly accused the Kiev leadership of lacking a real commitment to reform.
Vowing to continue to fight corruption which he said went to the very top of Ukraine's establishment, he told journalists: "I decided to resign and start a new stage of fighting. I will not give up."
In a clear rebuke of Poroshenko, he said: "In reality, in Odessa region, the President personally supports two clans."
Addressing journalists alongside Odessa customs Chief Yulia Marushevska, he said the work of reform-minded public officials had been thwarted by higher authorities in Kiev interested in preserving the status quo.
Saakashvili, a bitter opponent of Russia, was one of several foreign politicians and technocrats to be given key posts by the pro-Western leadership in Kiev after the Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich fled in the face of street protests.
They were brought in as part of a drive to eliminate entrenched corruption and rebuild on transparent lines a country riven by cronyism, bad economic management and separatist war in the east.
Since then, many have resigned or been dismissed.
In February, Economy Minister Earlier Aivaras Abromavicius, a Lithuanian, stepped down saying vested interests were blocking his ministry's work.
Later, a government shake-up booted US-born Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko and Western-backed Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk out of office. The appointment of Poroshenko ally Volodymyr Grosyman in his place was seen as a move by the president to consolidate power.
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