Apr 12, 2022 - World

Zelensky says Ukrainian forces have captured top Putin ally

Viktor Medvedchuk

Viktor Medvedchuk. Photo: Ukrainian Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ukraine’s security services have captured Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician, following a “special operation,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a Telegram post Tuesday.

Why it matters: Medvedchuk's friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin stretches back years, and in 2021 the U.S. warned that Medvedchuk was on a “short list” of politicians that Russia would like to see replace Zelensky in the case of a coup, the Washington Post reported.

  • Medvedchuk has even said that Putin is his daughter's godfather, per Reuters.

Catch up quick: Medvedchuk was placed under house arrest last year after Ukrainian authorities opened a treason case against him, Reuters reported.

  • Medvedchuk allegedly escaped his house arrest at the end of February, in the early days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though his lawyer denied the allegation, saying his client had simply been relocated due to safety concerns, per Reuters.

State of play: "A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU," Zelensky wrote, referring to the Security Service of Ukraine, alongside a photo of Medvedchuk in handcuffs and wearing an army uniform.

  • "Well done! Details later," Zelensky added.
  • "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," the Security Service of Ukraine wrote in a Telegram post Tuesday, alongside anther photo of Medvedchuk in handcuffs.
  • "But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all!" the post added.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

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