Politics

Zelenskyy says Ukraine captured pro-Putin politician Viktor Medvedchuk who escaped house arrest

Key Points
  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the apparent capture of Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin politician in Ukraine.
  • Medvedchuk had been under house arrest on treason charges since last year but allegedly escaped shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Zelenskyy posted a photo on social media showing a disheveled Medvedchuk seated by a radiator clasped in handcuffs.
President Zelenskyy posted on social media a photo of Viktor Medvedchuk with "A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU. Well done! Details later. Glory to Ukraine!" Written underneath.
Courtesy: Office of Presidency of Ukraine

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday announced the apparent capture of Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin politician who was living in Ukraine.

Medvedchuk had been under house arrest on treason charges since last year, but allegedly escaped shortly after Russia launched its invasion in late February. His lawyers have denied wrongdoing.

"A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU," Zelenskyy wrote in Russian on his verified account on the social media platform Telegram, referencing Ukraine's Security Service.

"Well done! Details later. Glory to Ukraine!" Zelenskyy said.

Above that caption, Zelenskyy posted a photo showing a disheveled Medvedchuk seated by a radiator with his hands clasped in handcuffs.

Medvedchuk, the leader of a pro-Russian opposition party in Ukraine and a staunch opponent of Kyiv's appeals to join NATO, has extremely close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is godfather to Medvedchuk's daughter.

Some experts have speculated that if Putin had planned to install a puppet leader after toppling Ukraine's government, Medvedchuk would be on the short list.

Ukraine's Security Service posted a mugshot of Medvedchuk on its official Twitter account, along with a cavalier warning for other Russia-allied Ukrainians.

"You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You may be 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," the Secret Service tweeted in Russian.

VIDEO2:3002:30
Biden accuses Putin of committing genocide in Ukraine

"And on the same traitors of Ukraine as you! Pro-Russian traitors and agents of the Russian secret services, remember - your crimes have no statute of limitations. And hiding places, wherever we find you!" the agency tweeted.

The thread of tweets included a statement from Ukraine Secret Service leader Ivan Bakanov, thanking the officers who "proved their professionalism and conducted a lightning-fast and dangerous multi-level special operation to detain" Medvedchuk.

"No traitor will escape punishment and will be held accountable under the Law of Ukraine," Bakanov said, according to the translation of the agency's tweets.