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Ukraine: Putin’s fugitive family member arrested by Ukrainian security forces

He was one of the main targets of the Ukrainian intelligence services. It was even thought that he had taken refuge in Moscow. Ukrainian MP 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,” authorities said on Tuesday. In the evening, Volodymyr Zelensky offered to “trade” him for the Ukrainians in captivity.

“Thanks to the SBU . Has a special operation been performed? [les services de sécurité ukrainiens]† cheer! Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his Telegram channel. Under house arrest, Medvedchuk disappeared a few days after the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

The SBU later confirmed his arrest, without giving any 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 dress up… But will that help you escape punishment? Not at all ! “remarked the security services on Telegram.

Putin would be the godfather of one of his daughters

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

He is presented as Putin’s strongman in Ukraine. In particular, media mogul, multi-activity businessman, is accused of having invested in a Russian refinery, thus giving him the Sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 and feeding the Donbass. The three television channels were closed by Zelensky in 2021 for pro-Russian propaganda.

On February 26, two days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian police noticed his disappearance during a surveillance visit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on his arrest to Russian news agencies, saying: “There are many fake (fake) from Ukraine” and says “this needs to be checked first”.

Viktor Medvedchuk, 12th fortune in Ukraine in 2021 with $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 post-Soviet countries it’s a very strong bond, like coming from the same family”, deciphered with of the Parisian Cécile Vaissié, professor at the University of Rennes-II and author of the book “The networks of the Kremlin in France”.

He is the founder of the pro-Russian party “Opposition Platform”. For life which had about thirty deputies in the Ukrainian parliament before being banned in March, following the Russian attack.

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