Ukraine: Fugitive Putin Ally Has Been Arrested

Viktor Medvedchuk reportedly in custody
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2022 12:35 AM CDT
Ukraine Says Fugitive Putin Ally Has Been Arrested
In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk sits handcuffed after being detained in a special operation carried out by the country's SBU secret service, Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in Ukraine.   (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

(Newser) – Ukrainian officials say fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who is both the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close associate of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, has been detained in a special operation carried out by the country’s SBU secret service. In his nightly video address to the nation Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed that Russia could win Medvedchuk’s freedom by trading Ukrainians now held in Russian prisons, the AP reports. Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine’s national security agency, said on the agency’s Telegram channel that Medvedchuk had been detained.

The statement came shortly after Zelensky posted on social media a photo of Medvedchuk sitting in handcuffs and wearing a camouflage uniform with a Ukrainian flag patch. Medvedchuk was the former leader of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform - For Life. He was being held under house arrest before the war began and disappeared shortly after hostilities broke out. Putin is the godfather to Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter. Says Ukraine's security service in a statement cited by the BBC, "You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may have been hiding from justice lately. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage. But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all! Shackles are waiting for you and same goes for traitors to Ukraine like you." (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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