Ukraine: Fugitive Putin relative arrested by Ukrainian security services

He was one of the main targets of Ukrainian intelligence. He is even said to have fled to Moscow. Ukrainian MP and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and on the run since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was arrested after a “special operation,” authorities said on Tuesday. In the evening, Volodymyr Zelensky offered to “exchange” him for the Ukrainians in captivity.

“Thanks to the SBU, a special operation was carried out [les services de sécurité ukrainiens]. To cheer ! ‘ said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on his Telegram channel. Medvedchuk disappeared under house arrest days after the Russian invasion began on February 24.

The SBU later confirmed his arrest without giving details. “You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may be on the run. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform to disguise yourself… But does that help you escape punishment? Not at all ! ‘ commented the security services on Telegram.

Putin would be the godfather of one of his daughters

The message is accompanied by a statement from SBU chief Ivan Bakanov, who thanks his subordinates for successfully leading “this extraordinary and dangerous mission.” Viktor Medvedchuk, 67, has been under house arrest since May 2021 after being charged with “treason” and “attempted looting of natural resources in Crimea,” the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

He is portrayed as Putin’s strongman in Ukraine. Media tycoon, businessman with diverse activities, is accused in particular of investing in a Russian refinery, which made it possible to bypass the sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 and supply fuel to the Donbass. Zelenskyi shut down his three TV channels in 2021 because of pro-Russian propaganda.

On February 26, two days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian police discovered his disappearance during an inspection visit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on his arrest to Russian news outlets, saying: “There are many fake (fake) from the Ukraine” and the statement “this has to be checked first”.

Viktor Medvedchuk, worth 12th fortune in Ukraine in 2021 at $620 million according to Forbes magazine, is known for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who according to the person concerned is the godfather of one of his daughters. “In the post-Soviet countries, there is a very strong bond, as if you come from the same family,” deciphered Parisian Cécile Vaissié, a professor at the University of Rennes-II and author of the book “Kremlin Networks in France”.

He is the founder of the pro-Russian opposition platform party. For life ‘, which had around thirty MPs in Ukraine’s parliament before it was banned in March after the Russian attack.

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