Ukrainian MP from pro-Russian OPZH party, personal friend and ally of Putin – Viktor Medvedchuk – was captured in an SBU operation after escaping his house arrest in the early days of the war, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a Facebook post on April 12.
In 2021, Medvedchuk was charged with high treason and placed under house arrest. On Feb. 27, he escaped and had been on the run since.
The head of the SBU security service, Ivan Bakanov, expressed his glee at the fugitive’s capture, and warned that a similar fate awaits other “traitors of Ukraine.”
“You can be a pro-Russia politician and spend years working for the aggressor state; you can run from justice for a while; you can even don a Ukrainian military uniform and try to blend in,” said Bakanov.
“But will this help you escape judgement? Never! Nothing but chains await you and other such traitors of Ukraine.”
Bakanov also thanked his SBU agents for expertly conducting the operation that secured Medvedchuk’s capture.
According to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelensky’s chief of staff, Medvedchuk was apprehended not in Kyiv, but elsewhere. Further details of the operation are expected to emerge soon.
For decades Medvedchuk was a conduit for Kremlin influence – media, political, and financial – in Ukraine. In 2004, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin became godfather to Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter, attesting to the depth of their relationship.
Medvedchuk’s wife, Oksana Marchenko, left for Belarus several days before the Russian invasion, and then recorded a video in Moscow shortly before Russian tanks started to cross the border into Ukraine.
On March 18, a Lviv court arrested Medvedchuk in absentia.