Pro-Russian leader Victor Medvedchuk, considered a “friend” of President Vladimir Putin and currently imprisoned by the kyiv authorities, he asked through a video to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers who resist in the besieged city of Mariúpol.
(Read: Inhabitants of Mariúpol resist refugees and without food)
In the video, broadcast by the Ukrinform portal, the leader of the Platform for Life addresses the Ukrainian and Russian presidents, Volodymyr Zelensky and Putin, to ask them to authorize an exchange of prisoners between him and “defenders and residents” in that port city.
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“They are in a blocked city, without access to safe humanitarian corridors,” says the politician, who was arrested on April 12, after which the Ukrainian authorities proceeded to seize 154 properties, which was followed by the suspension of activities of his party in Parliament, the Rada.
Shortly after his arrest, which was announced by Zelensky himself and criticized from the Kremlin, the option of a prisoner exchange was announced, something that the Ukrainian president suggested.
The request now for this exchange comes a day after the ultimatum given by Moscow to surrender to the Ukrainian troops resisting in Mariupol expired.
It is estimated that some 100,000 citizens are still trapped in the strategic port city, without the possibility of being evacuated since the humanitarian corridors remain closed.
Police sources in the city reported that thousands of civilians are resisting the bombardment by Russian troops sheltering in the Azovstal steelworks, where some 2,400 Ukrainian soldiers, the last defenders of Mariupol, are also allegedly entrenched.
This strategic city on the coast of the Sea of Azov has been under Russian bombardment since the beginning of the invasion, on February 24. That same day, with the beginning of what Moscow described as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, Medvechuck, who was under house arrest by order of the judge, fled.
To the politician and businessman, 67 years old, He is charged with a crime of high treason for revealing state secrets, having business in the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, working for Russia and having “solid ties” with Putin.
After his arrest, the Ukrainian authorities posted a photo on the Telegram network of the politician and oligarch, who appeared seated, handcuffed and dressed in military clothing with a badge with the Ukrainian flag. In the now released video he appears sitting behind a table, speaking to the camera and dressed in civilian clothing.
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