Pro-Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk detained by secret service, Ukraine says

12 April 2022, 21:38

Viktor Medvedchuk has been detained in a special operation carried out by the country's SBU secret service.
Viktor Medvedchuk has been detained in a special operation carried out by the country's SBU secret service. Picture: Instagram

By Sophie Barnett

A close ally of Vladimir Putin has been captured in a special operation carried out by the Ukraine’s secret service, Ukrainian officials said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian opposition leader, was detained after weeks on the run.

He was being held under house arrest before the war began and disappeared shortly after hostilities broke out.

Mr Putin is godfather to Mr Medvedchuk's youngest daughter.

Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine's national security agency, confirmed on the agency's Telegram channel that he had been arrested.

The statement came shortly after President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on social media a photo of Mr Medvedchuk sitting in handcuffs and wearing a camouflage uniform with a Ukrainian flag patch.

Mr Zelenskyy wrote: "A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU. Well done! Details later. Glory to Ukraine!"

Mr Medvedchuk leads the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform - For Life.

Read more: Brit fighting for Ukraine 'set to surrender after running out of ammo' in Mariupol

Read more: 'All options on the table': Minister's vow after Russia's 'chemical attack' on Mariupol

He was last year placed under house arrest after a treason case was opened against him.

Mr Medvedchuk denies any wrongdoing.

The security services said in an online post: "You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may have been hiding from justice lately.

"You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage.

"But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all! Shackles are waiting for you and same goes for traitors to Ukraine like you."

Putin won't go nuclear, says think tank chief

The post cited Ivan Bakanov, head of the secret services, as saying his operatives had "conducted a lightning-fast and dangerous multi-level special operation" to arrest Medvedchuk but did not give details.

Last month Zelenskyy said For Life and several other smaller political parties with ties to Russia had been suspended.