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Ukraine arrests a close Putin friend dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” when Zelensky offers to trade him for captured soldiers

UKRAINIAN agents have captured a senior Russian oligarch and close pal of Vladimir Putin, dubbed the “Prince of Darkness”.

Viktor Medvedchuk, 67, was kidnapped in a covert raid by spies from Ukraine’s security service SBU on Tuesday.

Medvedchuk was arrested by Ukrainian security services on Tuesday

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Medvedchuk was arrested by Ukrainian security services on TuesdayPhoto credit: AFP
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a meeting with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition platform - For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk in Saint Petersburg, 2019

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a meeting with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition platform – For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk in Saint Petersburg, 2019Photo credit: Reuters

Pictures shared by the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy show the disheveled media tycoon and former MP donning Ukrainian military suits.

A spokesman for the SBU said the oligarch was caught in a “lightning fast and dangerous” special operation.

On Wednesday, President Zelenskyy suggested swapping Putin’s buddy for him Prisoners of war being held by brutal Russian forces.

Medvedchuk has been branded the “Gray Cardinal” and “Prince of Darkness” for his influence on Ukraine’s economic and political landscape.

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During tyrant Putin – whom Medvedchuk has referred to as a “personal friend” – is his daughter’s godfather. They even vacationed together.

As leader of the country’s main pro-Moscow party in Ukraine – the pro-life opposition platform – he was the most trusted and influential Kremlin lieutenant in Ukraine.

He held the role in the party that has the second-highest number of seats in Ukraine’s parliament until last month, when the party moved to replace him.

The party’s activities have been suspended since Ukraine introduced martial law in February.

Medvedchuk, a lawyer by training and wealthy businessman who has held political positions since the 1990s, was placed under house arrest last year on charges of treason and terrorist financing, which he denies.

He escaped a few days after the Russians launched theirs massive invasion of Ukraine in February.

The oligarch’s whereabouts have remained unknown since he was on the run and many suspected he may have been smuggled into Russia.

The Kremlin has claimed that Medvedchuk’s photos were fake, without providing any evidence to support their claims.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “A lot of fakes come from Ukraine. That has to be checked first.”

Medvedchuk has been accused of trying to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea and leaking Ukrainian military secrets to Moscow.

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When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the oligarch reportedly paid just $40,000 for shares in a Russian oil refiner, Yug Energo — the deal has since netted him tens of millions of dollars in profits, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Ivan Bakanov, the head of the SBU, said: “Not a single traitor will escape punishment.”

Medvedchuk was found in Ukrainian military uniform

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Medvedchuk was found in Ukrainian military uniformCredit: AP

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/worldnews/18250926/ukraine-war-viktor-medvedchuk-captured-putin-ally/ Ukraine arrests a close Putin friend dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” when Zelensky offers to trade him for captured soldiers

Bobby Allyn

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