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One of Vladimir Putin’s nearest and dearest, Viktor Medvedchuk, has been arrested.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a photo of the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician looking extremely tired and disheveled while handcuffed.
He added to the post with the caption: “A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU. Well done! Glory to Ukraine!”
The ABC reports Medvedchuk is Putin's 'closest and most influential ally in Ukraine'.
There are even claims that Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk's daughter.
According to the Guardian, Medvedchuk was placed on house arrest last year after being accused of attempting to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea and handing over Ukrainian military secrets to Moscow.
He escaped shortly after Russian troops began moving in on Ukraine and there's been a hunt for him ever since.
President Zelenskyy proposed Medvedchuk's release in exchange for the Ukrainian ‘boys and girls who are now in Russian captivity'.
In an online post that has since been removed, Ukraine's security services issued a statement that said (via the BBC): "Important for our security forces and military forces to consider such a possibility.
"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."
Head of the secret services, Ivan Bakanov, also shared that authorities ‘conducted a lightning-fast and dangerous multi-level special operation’ to capture the disgraced Ukraine politician.
Despite the claims, Medvedchuk’s lawyers have denied any wrongdoing.
Following his house arrest, President Zelenskyy also suspended Medvedchuk’s party, Ukraine’s most prominent opposition party, under the pretence he ‘colluded’ with Russia.
Zelenskyy said in a video address: “The activities of those politicians aimed at division or collusion will not succeed, but will receive a harsh response.
“Therefore, the national security and defence council decided, given the full-scale war unleashed by Russia, and the political ties that a number of political structures have with this state, to suspend any activity of a number of political parties for the period of martial law."
However, Zelenskyy's decision to punish the opposition leader was criticised by the chair of Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, who said ‘it was another mistake’ made by the Ukrainian leader.
Featured Image Credit: zelenskiy_official Instagram. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
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