Vladimir Putin’s relative arrested after “special operation” conducted by Ukrainian services

Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian MP and businessmen on the run since the Russian invasion, has been under house arrest since May 2021 after being charged with “high treason”.

Ukrainian MP and businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a fugitive since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been arrested following a “special operation,” Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday.

“A special operation has been carried out thanks to the SBU (Ukrainian Security Services, editor’s note). Bravo!” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on his Telegram channel, accompanied by his message with a photo of Viktor Medvedchuk, handcuffed and dressed of a Ukrainian army uniform.

The businessman under house arrest since 2021

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 can be on the run. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform to disguise yourself… But will that help you escape punishment? everyone!” said the security services on Telegram.

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.

No comment from the Kremlin

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 that “a lot of ‘fake’ is coming from Ukraine” and that “this should 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.

He is the founder of the pro-Russian “Opposition Platform-For Life” party, which had about 30 deputies in the Ukrainian parliament before being banned in March after the Russian attack.

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