By Laura Mills
Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili resigned from his post as governor of the Ukrainian region of Odessa on Monday, accusing the country's leadership of unbridled corruption despite promises of government overhaul.
In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Mr. Saakashvili criticized the Ukrainian elite as "corrupt filth," and said efforts to implement reform in the Black Sea region had been stifled by unscrupulous politicians.
Mr. Saakashvili, known in his native Georgia for his anticorruption drive as well as a disastrous 2008 war with Russia, was appointed governor in Odessa last year. He was one of several high-profile foreigners appointed to head reform efforts after a pro-democratic revolution in 2014 swept a pro-Russian president from power.
The anticorruption effort has stalled in Ukraine, which still faces a conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country. A $1 billion tranche from the International Monetary Fund meant to shore up the country's fragile economy was released in September after delays of over a year, as Western leaders have often rebuked the government for long-delayed anticorruption efforts.
Mr. Saakashvili said he had been held back by individuals "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."
Mr. Saakashvili also lashed out personally at Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, with whom he studied at university in Kiev. The Ukrainian presidential administration didn't offer any immediate reaction.
Mr. Saakashvili said anticorruption efforts in everything from building better roads to constructing citizen help centers had been obstructed by the central government in Kiev.
"Odessa will only develop once Kiev is freed from these corrupt politicians, who are sheltered by banditry and lawlessness," he said.
Write to Laura Mills at Laura.Mills@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 07, 2016 07:37 ET (12:37 GMT)
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