Ukrainian officials say fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who is both a pro-Russian opposition leader and a close associate of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, has been detained in a special operation carried out by the country’s secret service.
Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine’s national security agency, said on the agency’s Telegram channel that Mr Medvedchuk had been arrested.
The statement came shortly after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on social media a photo of Mr Medvedchuk sitting in handcuffs and wearing a camouflage uniform with a Ukrainian flag patch.
“A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU,” Mr Zelenskyy wrote in Russian on his verified account on the social media platform Telegram, referencing Ukraine’s Security Service.
Mr Medvedchuk leads the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform – For Life. He was being held under house arrest before the war began and disappeared shortly after hostilities broke out on February 24.
Mr Putin is the godfather to Mr Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter.
Last year, Ukrainian authorities opened a treason case against Mr Medvedchuk. He denies wrongdoing.
Mr Medvedchuk is the leader of a pro-Russian opposition party in Ukraine and an opponent of Kyiv’s hopes to join NATO.
Some experts have that if Mr Putin had planned to install a puppet leader after toppling Ukraine’s government, Mr Medvedchuk would be a candidate.
The exhuming of Ukrainian victims from mass graves in Bucha