Viktor Medvedchuk: Putin's top ally in Ukraine arrested, say security services

Medvedchuk, leader of the Opposition Platform - For Life party, is Russian president's most influential ally in Ukraine

Viktor Medvedchuk sits handcuffed after being detained in an operation by Ukraine's secret service on April 12.  Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP
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Ukraine's security services on Tuesday said they had arrested pro-Moscow politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest and most influential ally in the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had earlier published a photo of a tired and handcuffed Mr Medvedchuk, who says Mr Putin is godfather to his daughter.

In February, Kyiv said the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party had escaped from house arrest.

Last year authorities opened a treason case against Mr Medvedchuk, who denies any wrongdoing.

"You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years," the security services said in an online post.

"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 the same goes for traitors to Ukraine like you."

The post quoted Ivan Bakanov, head of the secret services, as saying his operatives had "conducted a lightning-fast and dangerous multi-level special operation" to arrest Mr Medvedchuk.

Last month Mr Zelenskyy said the Opposition Platform – For Life, which is Ukraine's largest opposition movement, and other smaller political parties with ties to Russia had been suspended.

A spokesman for Mr Medvedchuk was not immediately available for comment.

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