Wrestling for prisoners – will Azovstal fighters be exchanged for oligarchs?


Putin’s friend and pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk was arrested by Ukrainian troops in mid-April – now negotiations are apparently underway to release the oligarch. “We will explore the possibility of replacing Medvedchuk with Azovstal fighters,” Leonid Slutsky, Russia’s foreign policy chief, told Interfax.

Medvedchuk’s capture caused quite a stir, as the oligarch is considered one of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s closest allies in Ukraine. The pro-Russian politician went into hiding shortly after the invasion began and was eventually caught trying to escape. In Kiev, Medvedchuk is accused of high treason and embezzlement.

Resistance to exchange is building in Russia
Shortly after Medvedchuk’s arrest, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed an exchange for Ukrainian POWs, which has so far not worked. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said weeks ago that Medvedchuk was “not a Russian citizen”. After the capture of Mariupol, when thousands of Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in the besieged factory of Azovstal, there is now again discussion about a prisoner exchange for the oligarch. However, some Russian politicians spoke out against it and prefer to see the fighters from Mariupol in court.

Oligarch went into hiding during the tumult of war
Medvedchuk is said to be one of the richest people in Ukraine. According to his own statements, Putin is the godfather of his youngest daughter. The relationship with the Kremlin boss brought the end of the politician last year: he was charged with high treason and was placed under house arrest. When Russian troops entered Ukraine at the end of February, he managed to go into hiding for weeks during the war.

Source: Krone


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