Ukraine: Fugitive Putin Relative Arrested by Ukrainian Security Services

He was one of the number one targets of the Ukrainian intelligence services. It was even thought that he had taken refuge in Moscow. Ukrainian deputy and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a fugitive since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been arrested following a “special operation,” Ukrainian authorities announced Tuesday. In the evening, Volodymyr Zelensky offered to “exchange” him for the captive Ukrainians.

“A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU [les services de sécurité ukrainiens]. Happiness ! “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his Telegram channel. Under house arrest, Medvedchuk had disappeared just days after the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Later, the SBU confirmed his arrest, without giving details. “You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may be running away. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform to dress up… But will that help you escape punishment? Not at all ! “the security services commented on Telegram.

Putin would be godfather to one of his daughters

The message is accompanied by a statement from the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, who thanks his subordinates for having successfully led “this exceptional and dangerous mission”. Viktor Medvedchuk, 67, had been under house arrest since May 2021 after being accused of “high treason” and “attempted looting of natural resources in Crimea”, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

He is presented as Putin’s strong man in the Ukraine. Media tycoon, businessman with many activities, he is accused in particular of having invested in a Russian refinery which allowed the diversion of sanctions imposed in 2014 on Russia and feeding the Donbass. Its three television channels were closed in 2021 by Zelensky for pro-Russian propaganda.

On February 26, two days after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian police confirmed his disappearance during a control visit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on his arrest to Russian news agencies, saying “there are many false (fake) from Ukraine” and saying “this needs to be verified first”.

Viktor Medvedchuk, Ukraine’s 12th fortune in 2021 with 620 million dollars according to Forbes magazine, is known for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is, according to the interested party, the godfather of one of his daughters. “In post-Soviet countries it is a very strong bond, like being from the same family”, he deciphers with of the parisian Cécile Vaissié, professor at the University of Rennes-II and author of the book “The Kremlin networks in France”.

He is the founder of the pro-Russian party “Platform of Opposition for life “, which had about thirty deputies in the Ukrainian Parliament before being banned in March, after the Russian attack.

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