Ukraine Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
Former Georgian Mikheil Saakashvili speaks after he was released by his supporters in Kiev Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP

Following days of pursuit and near captures, former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested once again on Friday (8 December) from a Ukraine apartment, said to be that of his friend's.

Saakashvili has led an outspoken campaign to oust his one-time ally Ukrainian President Petro O Poroshenko. Only hours before his detention he had urged supporters to gather at Independence Square in capital Kiev in protest against the president.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saakashvili was briefly arrested from the rooftop of his five-storey apartment building in Kiev from where he had threatened to jump off. He was dragged off by Ukraine security officers, as he spewed insults at Poroshenko, but escaped with the help of his supporters who had gathered in the hundreds below and blocked the van taking him.

While his supporters see him as an anti-corruption crusader, Ukraine's prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko has accused Saakashvili of receiving $500,000 (£373,400) from a person allegedly close to former Ukrainian president Viktor F Yanukovych, ousted in February 2014. Officials have accused the former Georgian president of colluding with Russia in a plot against Ukraine, a claim Saakashvili, a long-time Putin opponent, has dismissed.

As president of Georgia for a decade, Saakashvili had won admiration in the West for stamping out corruption and bringing about far-reaching reforms in his country. But that image took a beating after he was accused of targeting his political opponents along with the corrupt, following a war with Russia in 2008.

After a defeat in the parliamentary elections at home, Saakashvili left Georgia in 2013, and voiced his strong support for the Ukraine revolution of 2014. He strongly backed Yanukovych's successor Poroshenko, who granted him Ukraine citizenship and appointed him governor of the Black Sea region of Odessa in 2015.

However, within a year, Saakashvili accused Poroshenko of supporting and benefiting from graft, drawing the president's ire. In 2016, Saakashvili quit as Odessa governor and began rallying against the Ukraine president. Miffed, Poroshenko revoked his former ally's Ukrainian passport when he was out of the country. That left Saakashvili, who had lost his Georgian passport when he accepted Ukraine's citizenship, stateless.

Undeterred, he entered Ukraine on foot in September, surrounded by his supporters who broke a cordon of security guards at the Polish border. His forced entry, incensed the Ukraine president, already struggling with an armed rebellion and allegations of corruption.

Following his arrest on Friday, Saakashvili's supporters camped on the streets outside the detention centre where he is being held, chanting slogans and lighting fires to keep warm.