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A pro-Putin Ukrainian fugitive who escaped while being held in home confinement in Kyiv on allegations of treason was recaptured by Ukraine’s SBU security service, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday.
Viktor Medvedchuk, an oligarch and the former leader of a Ukrainian pro-Russian party, disappeared from his house arrest after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed in his nightly address on Tuesday that Medvedchuk could be traded for Ukrainian “boys and girls who are now in Russian captivity,” according to BBC News.
In a separate statement, Ukraine’s security service said, “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.”
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Zelenskyy on Tuesday posted a photo of Medvedchuk in handcuffs wearing a Ukrainian military uniform.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is the godfather to Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter. Medvedchuk was among those considered by Russia to replace Zelenskyy if they had been able to remove the Ukrainian president from power, according to Fox News journalist Jennifer Griffin.
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Medvedchuk has denied the charges against him and called them “political repression.” He was arrested last year after being tolerated in Ukraine for years because he was considered to be important for relations with Moscow, according to BBC.