Wife of Putin ally in Ukrainian custody asks Zelenskyy to free him

The prominent wife of Vladimir Putin’s main Ukraine ally has personally asked President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to release him from captivity – and on Friday claimed he was being beaten and “persecuted for political reasons”.

Oksana Marchenko – a former TV star who hosted “X-Factor Ukraine” – made the first direct appeal on Wednesday, a day after her husband, longtime Putin pal Viktor Medvedchuk, was held in Kyiv on charges of treason.

“President Zelenskyy, I ask you to take all necessary measures for the immediate release of my husband,” she said, speaking directly into the camera in her YouTube appeal.

“There is no doubt that my husband is being persecuted for political reasons, contrary to the laws of Ukraine and international law,” she told the 67-year-old oligarch and former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party.

On Friday, she made fresh appeals during a press conference in Moscow, insisting that her husband was a “political prisoner”.

“I have no doubt that my husband was beaten within hours of his arrest,” Marchenko said at the press conference, without offering any evidence.

Oksana Marchenko and Viktor Medvedchuk
Oksana Marchenko with her husband Viktor Medvedchuk.

“I am calling for help to stop the physical and mental torture,” she said.

She said she “unfortunately” hadn’t heard from Zelensky – and admitted she didn’t expect it either.

“He doesn’t answer such questions, he is his own law,” Marchenko added, according to the Russian TASS news agency.

In this picture provided by the Ukrainian president's press office, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who is both a former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, sits in handcuffs after being arrested at a Special operation conducted by the country's secret service SBU, Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in Ukraine.
Oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk sits handcuffed after being arrested in a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s secret service SBU on April 12, 2022.
Press Office of the President of Ukraine via AP

Medvedchuk — last year listed by Forbes as Ukraine’s 12th richest person at $620 million — was placed under house arrest last May on charges of “treason.”

The US also accused Medvedchuk in January of being involved in Russian intelligence efforts to prepare friendly Ukrainian politicians to take control of the country with the backing of the occupying powers.

According to the Ukrainian police, he escaped from house arrest a few days after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.

Viktor Medvedchuk (L), the head of the Council of Ukraine's opposition platform - For Life, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence
Viktor Medvedchuk with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zelensky announced his arrest on Tuesday, showing him dejected and in handcuffs – and sparking widespread celebration.

“It’s a symbolic event, like the capture of Goebbels, a great achievement from a moral and political point of view,” he said Sergiy Leshchenko, Advisor to the Ukrainian Presidency, Reference to the Nazi propaganda chief.

“This is the man who received direct instructions and resources from Putin to prepare the terrain for the invasion,” he claimed, according to Agence France-Presse.

Oksana Marchenko and Viktor Medvedchuk
Marchenko is a former television star who hosted “X-Factor Ukraine”.

Medvedchuk and the Kremlin deny that he pulled the strings for the Kremlin in Kyiv.

However, he makes no secret of his closeness to Putin and even boasts that the bellicose president is godfather to his youngest daughter Daryna.

“We have a great relationship. It was built over many years,” Medvedchuk told Agence France-Presse in 2019.

With postal wires Wife of Putin ally in Ukrainian custody asks Zelenskyy to free him


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