Medvedchuk, who had been under house arrest since last year on charges of treason, among other things, left three days after the Russian invasion. After a week-long chase, Ukrainian intelligence managed to arrest him again.
The demise of the oligarchy, seen in a handcuffed photo, was astonishing. In February, when the Russian army moved to Kyiv, he was listed as one of Moscow’s top candidates to lead a pro-Russian government. Now Medvedchuk, referred to as Putin’s best friend in Ukraine, must watch as the government disposes of him as soon as possible in exchange for Ukrainian POWs.
“Replace your husbands with our sons and daughters who are now held in Russian captivity,” President Volodymyr Zelensky told Russia on Wednesday. To complement the humiliation of the Kremlin ally, Zelensky personally also released a photo of the imprisoned Medvedchuk.
Reception in the Kremlin
The confused and tired politician was wearing an army uniform, like a lot of Ukrainian men these days, in order not to stand out. The contrast with 2020, when the Kremlin released a photo when Putin greeted Medvedchuk warmly, could not be greater. Was this the man who could boast that Putin is his daughter’s godfather?
The secret intelligence SBU did not specify where the pro-Russian politician and millionaire was hiding for 48 days. The agency took a hard line on Medvedchuk, whose ‘Opposition Platform for Life’ party became the second party in parliament in 2019 thanks to pro-Russian voters in the east.
Moscow reacted negatively to Zelensky’s exchange offer on Wednesday evening. According to the Kremlin, Medvedchuk has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine, and he is also a “foreign politician” and not a “Russian citizen”. “We have absolutely no idea if he wants Russia to be involved in trying to resolve the defamation case against him,” a Russian government spokesman said.
role play it
Medvedchuk was previously a member of Parliament for many years and until 2005 was the chief of staff of then-President Leonid Kuchma. His political role appears to have ended after the 2014 Maidan Revolution and Russia’s annexation of Crimea due to his sympathy for Russia. The United States put him on the sanctions list. His call for dialogue between Kyiv and the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass was also not appreciated.
Because he was seen as the only figure who could negotiate with Russia, Medvedchuk was accused of releasing prisoners of war after the 2014 conflict in eastern Ukraine. The oligarch, whose fortune was then estimated at half a billion euros, was preparing to take on a greater political role. The rise of Zelensky in 2019, who promised to end the power of the oligarchy, put an end to this.
Last year, the curtain fell on his political career. In addition to treason, Medvedchuk was also accused of providing financial support to the separatists in the Donbass. He denied the allegations. Months earlier, while visiting Putin, he smiled as the Russian leader praised him.
“I have known for a long time that despite the many challenges, you are taking a firm position on restoring Ukrainian-Russian relations,” Putin said. “We are pleased that there are political forces in Ukraine that take this position frankly and honestly.” “Thank you very much, Mr. Putin,” replied Medvedchuk proudly.
This letter was supplemented during the day on Wednesday by a response from a Russian government spokesperson.
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