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Ukraine has exchanged topro-Russian politician and oligarch close to the Kremlin Vktor Medvechukarrested in kyiv months ago, by more than 200 Ukrainian prisoners, including those he considers “heroes” of the Azov Regiment, and ten other captives of other nationalities who were in the hands of Russian soldiers.
The exchange of prisoners took place this Wednesday after months of negotiations between the two countries, since last April Medvedchuk himself, close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and then detained by the kyiv authorities, asked through a video that he be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers resisting in Maripol.
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The ‘prince of darkness’ friend of Putin captured in kyiv, decisive for the war
The President of Ukraine, Volodmir Zelenskyhe stated tonight about the exchange of Ukrainian prisoners for the pro-Russian politician Vktor Medvedchuk: “Exchange us a Russian fan for 200 warriors… It’s a good result.”
During the exchange made in the last few hours, Ukraine has received 215 prisoners, among them 124 Ukrainian officials, who were in the hands of the Russians, according to what the head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, informed President Volodmir Zelenski during a telephone call with the released ones.
Among the released Ukrainian prisoners are 108 members of the Azov Regiment, which resisted for more than 80 days on Maripol’s Azovstal sidewalk, including its main commander, Denys Prokopenko, “Redis”, and others considered Ukrainian heroes such as Yevheniy Bova and Lev Pashko. .
According to Zelensky, of the 215 released, 188 are “heroes” of the Azovstal sidewalk and of the Maripol resistance itself.
Also released were “defenders” Maryana Mamonova, Yana Shumovetska and Anastasiya Chernenka, who were captured while in custody. pregnantas highlighted by the Ukrainian authorities.
In addition, another ten prisoners of various nationalities held by the Russians have been released and sent to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, where they have been accompanied by the head of the State Property Fund, Rustem Umerov.
They are five citizens of Great Britain, two from the United States, one from Morocco, one from Sweden and one from Croatia.
“The enemy condemned them to a long prison sentence or the death penalty. We save their lives. All of them will return home through the mediation of Saudi Arabia. I am sincerely grateful to everyone who contributed for their help!” Zelensky said in the evening speech.
According to the information provided by the presidential page of Ukraine, the acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Maliuk; the deputy head of the General Intelligence Directorate, Dmytro Usov, and the Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada, Dmytro Lubinets, met with the 200 freed Ukrainians.
“Today we directly exchanged 200 citizens of Ukraine for Mr. Medvedchuk. I would like to point out that Medvedchuk is not just a close friend of Putin, but a well-documented state traitor. His guilt is fully recorded in the relevant materials,” said Vasyl Maliuk.
Maliuk noted that during the investigative work on Viktor Medvedchuk’s cases “several subversive networks were neutralized, state traitors were detained and a large amount of information was obtained, which is used in counterintelligence activities.”
In addition, five more citizens were released in exchange for 55 Russian prisoners, according to information from Ukraine.
Almost all of the freed Ukrainians are already on Ukrainian territory, except for the five commanders of the Azov Regiment, who, according to the agreements previously reached with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are in Turkey “under his personal guarantees of protection.”
“At first they offered to return 50 of our people in exchange for one of those who were in the detention center of the Security Service of Ukraine. Talk later. We insist. The number of 50 increased to 200. They are already in Ukraine. I think this is a good result,” Zelensky said in his speech.
“It is not a pity to give Medvechuk in exchange for true warriors”
In the opinion of the Ukrainian president, “it is not a pity to give Medvedchuk in exchange for true warriors.” “He went through all the investigative steps required by law -he added-. Ukraine received from him everything necessary to establish the truth within the framework of the criminal process”.
Zelenski has revealed that the prisoner exchange operation carried out this Wednesday “was prepared for quite some time” and has warned that there would even be more than 200 rescued Ukrainians because “among the liberated Ukrainian women there are those who are preparing to be mothers”.
The pro-Russian politician and oligarch Victor Medvedchuk, arrested on April 12 by the Ukrainian security forces, has been considered for 20 years the main agent of influence of the Kremlin in Ukrainian politics, especially in the Donbs.
“I have known (Russian President Vladimir) Putin since 2002, when I was head of the presidential administration. I am proud of our friendly relationship,” he said in a 2019 interview.
Medvedchuk, 67, is for many Ukrainians the “traitor” par excellence for his close ties with Russia, to which we must add that in recent years he was one of the main enemies of President Volodmir Zelenski.
Medvedchuk is familiarly known as “Putin’s compadre” and the Russian leader was the godfather of one of his daughters, a ceremony that was held in St. Petersburg.
As head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration (2002-2004), he coordinated under-the-table cooperation between Moscow and kyiv, interrupted by the Orange Revolution, a setback for the Kremlin that had supported the election of the pro-Russian Vktor Yanukovych.