- BBC News World
Handcuffed and looks tired in Ukrainian military uniform: A picture of the fugitive pro-Russian politician Victor Medvetsuk was distributed on Tuesday by the Ukrainian national security agency SBU.
The pro-Russian Ukrainian politician is a controversial figure in Ukraine for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Is considered an ally Very close to Putin Inside UkraineMedvedev was placed under house arrest in the capital, Que, on charges of treason, but escaped shortly after Russia’s occupation on February 24.
The 67-year-old oligarch and leader of the pro-Russian anti-Ukrainian platform – the Life Party – denies any wrongdoing.
In a video released to the nation on Tuesday night, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zhelensky presented Medvedchuk exchange “Ukrainian boys and girls now being held captive by Russia.”
Shortly before the news broke, Zelensky posted on Facebook that a pro-Russian politician had been arrested in connection with a “special operation” by the Ukrainian intelligence services (SBU for short).
In a statement to the SBU, Medvedchuk said he had “served for many years in the occupying state (Russia)”, “disappeared from justice” and wore a “Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage”.
“But will this help you to escape punishment? No. The bands are waiting for you and the traitors to Ukraine like you,” the intelligence note said.
Russia responded on Tuesday that it was verifying reports that Medvedev had been arrested.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they should check their arrest because “now many fakes are coming from Ukraine”, “everything should be checked.”
But who was Victor Medvetsuk and why was he arrested?
Putin: “We are not close, but we know each other well.”
As a wealthy businessman with close ties to the Russian leader, Medvedev was considered a key figure in Ukrainian political circles for many years. Communication channel with the Kremlin.
As played in the lead role Mediator with separatists Russian pro-government forces occupy the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
He is constantly photographed Next to the bottlenIn many casesFrom the Formula One race in Sochi – Russia’s largest tourist city, near the Georgian border – to political and martial arts events.
He received the Russian presidency in 2014 at his villa on the Crimean peninsula in the Ukrainian region of Donbass, which is annexed by Russia.
However, despite the Russian president saying in 2019 that they met from time to time, he denied that the connection was not close.
“I’m not saying we’re too close, but we know each other well.”The Russian president told American filmmaker Oliver Stone.
What was Medvetsuk accused of?
In 2014, the United States imposed sanctions on Medvedev, accusing him of undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty.
This year, Washington accused two members of his party of helping Russia to undermine the leadership of the Ukrainian government.
One of those parliamentarians, Taraz Kozak, is a deputy of the Belarusian People’s Party.
Owned by Cossacks Three TV channels – Zika, 112 Ukraine and Newzone – which was controversially closed by Ukrainian authorities last year They are accused of spreading “Russian misinformation”.
Medvedchuk is closely associated with those three television stations.
The two are said to have made millions by buying a 42% stake in a Russian oil refinery in the mining town of Novoshaktinsk on the Ukrainian border at a reasonable price.
Medvedev later bought a majority stake in the refinery on behalf of his wife, a TV star Oksana MarchenkoAvoid US sanctions.
In May 2021, there was Victor Medvetsuk Charge of treason And were placed under house arrest.
Ukraine’s National Security and Security Council imposes sanctions on Viktor Medvetsk and his wife. His accounts were frozen and TV channels associated with the politician were shut down.
Medvedchuk was later charged in various divisions.
Among them, assistance to Russia – after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 – in the exploration of oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea, registration of companies on the peninsula under Russian law. He was also accused of sending classified information to Russia.
In addition, he was accused of trying to buy coal from mines in parts of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists to finance the Donbass rebels, which Medvetsuk denied.
The pro-Russian politician repeatedly described Ukraine’s allegations against him “Political Repression”.
When he escaped from house arrest in late February, his lawyer, Larisa Certnishenko, said he was confronted. Threats Death“Radical nationalist groups” And he was looking for a safe place in the queue.
His party, The Ukraine’s largest opposition group in parliamentWas one of 11 Suspended last month It is said to be in contact with Russia for security reasons.
Moscow has condemned President Gelensky’s move as a mistake that could divide the country.
In a recent interview with the BBC News Ukraine, Attorney General Irina Venedikova said that Ukraine was “working hard” to bring Medvedev to justice.
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