Zelenskyy offers to swap captured pro-Kremlin oligarch who holidays with Putin for kidnapped Ukrainians
Zelenskyy offered Russia the chance to trade a captured Putin loyalist for Ukrainian prisoners.
Ukraine said Tuesday it had arrested Viktor Medvedchuk as he tried to flee the country.
Russia has captured thousands of Ukrainian civilians and sent them to Russian territory.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered Russia the chance to trade a captured pro-Kremlin oligarch and ally of Vladimir Putin for kidnapped Ukrainians.
Ukraine’s security service said Tuesday it had captured Viktor Medvedchuk, the millionaire chairman of the pro-Russian political group Ukrainian Choice, with Zelenskyy later posting a photo of him in handcuffs to Telegram.
Medvedchuk is close to President Vladimir Putin: The pair have often holidayed together on the Black Sea and Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter. Like Putin, Medvedchuk has long supported the idea that Ukraine and Russia are indisputably tied together by history.
In a video address posted on Telegram Tuesday night, Zelenskyy said Medvedchuk was captured while trying to flee the country disguised as a Ukrainian soldier, and that he was open to a trade with Russia.
“I think it is especially cynical of him to use military camouflage. He tried to disguise himself like that. Such a ‘soldier.’ Such a ‘patriot,'” he said.
“I offer the Russian Federation to exchange this guy of yours for our boys and our girls who are now in Russian captivity.”
Russia is believed to have captured thousands of Ukrainian civilians, and sent many to “filtration camps” in Russia.
Zelenskyy also warned that Ukraine would track every person who helping Russia in the war.
“Let Medvedchuk be an example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape, not to mention much more ordinary criminals from the Russian boondocks. We will get everyone,” he said.
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