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Odessa, Ukraine, Gov. Saakashvili resigns, citing rampant corruption

ODESSA, Ukraine, Nov. 7 (UPI) — Mikheil Saakashvili, governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, lashed out at government corruption as he announced his resignation Monday.

Saakashvili, in a video posted to the governor’s Facebook page, said efforts to reform his region were undermined by unprincipled politicians “who capitalize on the deaths of our soldiers … who betrayed the idea of the Ukrainian revolution, and whose only motivation in life is to fill their pockets and strengthen their clans, and to rob Ukraine to the end.”

“Odessa will only develop once Kiev is freed from these corrupt politicians, who are sheltered by banditry and lawlessness.”

He referred to the Ukrainian elite as “corrupt filth” and personally attacked Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, saying every effort to improve his region, from building improved roads to erecting citizen help centers, was blocked by the country’s corrupt central government. He added he reached his decision to resign after government officials declared their fortunes, according to law, and then requested financial assistance.

Saakashvili was appointed Odessa governor in 2015 after his term as president, from 2008 to 2013, of the nearby Republic of Georgia, where he led an anti-corruption drive. He was one of a number of high-profile foreigners appointed to lead Ukrainian reform efforts after a 2014 revolution in Ukraine deposed pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

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