"Maybe he (Putin - Ed.) was found upon overly optimistic reports or maybe he fell into euphoria because of Crimea, but he did not actually consider the scale of Ukrainian resistance. Speaking pragmatically, coming into his world, so to speak, he has missed the right moment while Ukraine, probably, was not still able to put up proper resistance back in April. Well, no one could realize it then, it was beyond people's comprehension. In Georgia, many people could not acknowledge it too. And he, probably, could break through the corridor to Crimea with relative ease in April taking away all southern Ukraine - but it would have been an undisguised military operation. He prepared, he was pushed, the Federation Council allowed him to do this but he stopped on the "Novorossia" project, to be on the safe side, as he probably thought.
"The Ukrainians - it is important to know - are very stubborn. Sometimes their stubbornness runs to stupidity. The Ukrainian army can hold the line for a long time in hopeless situations. Everyone knew that they would be blown up in the Donetsk airport, but they were holding its second floor for 10 days. Although everyone knew that they would be exploded there sooner or later. They were provided a corridor but they stayed. And they were blown up there.
"Speaking of the "Novorossia" project, there was no project actually. There was Russian aggression supported by a small - up to 10 percent - part of the local residents. The collaborationists supporting foreign aggression existed at any time. Sometimes they acquire state symbols. In order not to be called collaborationists," Saakashvili said.
At the same time, the politician is sure that it will be very difficult for the Russian invaders to capture Mariupol.
"It's a dead end there, you know. One can stick there without possibility to move either backward or forward. It will take six months of fierce battles to capture Mariupol. It ought to be seized last April, and now... There are 600,000 people - quite well-motivated people, and several layers of defense, which have been constructed with Georgia's involvement, by the way. The Russian aggression has made a miracle: those creeds, which not everyone adhered to even in Lviv, have widely spread even throughout the east, in the traditionally pro-Russian regions. Ukraine has finally opted for the West, and it is not going to move closer with Russia in the foreseeable future," Saakashvili said.
He also predicts that there will be two or three years of chaos in Russia after Putin, while Donetsk and Luhansk will be Ukrainian.
"A troubled time always follows the change of power vertical, and it will be good, if it's not too bloody. And then ... The North Caucasus will separate from Russia, Tatarstan and Bashkiria will remind of themselves; the Far East has long been tending to Japan and China... The situation will be the same as after the Soviet Union (dissolution - Ed.). And the situation with Luhansk and Donetsk will be the same as that of Afghanistan after the Soviet troops have left it. They will be Ukrainian as they always have been," Saakashvili concluded.