Two British prisoners ask on Russian TV to change them to Medvedchuk, a friend of Putin

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Of the thousands of prisoners that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will leave, very few of us will know their first and last names. From the battle of Mariúpol, Russia exhibited this Monday on television as valuable trophies two prisoners who have ceased to be anonymous. In different videos they address the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and ask him to facilitate their exchange for the pro-Russian businessman and politician Víktor Medvedchuk, a friend of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The two fighters, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, appear somewhat nervous on the recording. Before taking the floor, a man asks them to start talking and shows them a mobile where another video is played, that of Oksana Márchenko, Medvedchuk’s wife.

Pro-Russian businessman and politician

Medvedchuk was arrested last week, after breaking his house arrest

Both the businessman and his wife address the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, to facilitate his release by exchanging him for the last Ukrainian soldiers defending Mariupol, as well as for the civilian population still trapped in that coastal city of the sea of Azov.

The pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Víktor Medvedchuk, after his arrest, in an image from April 12

Uncredited/AP

“I want to address the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, with the request that the Ukrainian side exchange me for the defenders of Mariupol and the inhabitants who are currently there and have no possibility of safe exit through humanitarian corridors,” says Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the main opposition party in Ukraine, Opposition Platform – For Life, one of the pro-Russian formations suspended by Zelensky last month in his petition. March.

exchange currency

Zelensky already proposed last week to exchange the oligarch for “our boys and girls in Russian captivity”

In May 2021 Medvedchuk was accused of selling military secrets to Russia and exploiting the natural resources of the Crimean peninsula with his business, which Russia annexed in 2014 in a maneuver considered illegal by the international community. Medvedchuk denied the facts, but since then he has been under house arrest.

The politician and businessman violated that confinement days after Putin ordered Russian troops to enter Ukraine on February 24. Last week, President Zelenski himself announced, Medvedchuk was arrested by the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU).

Medvedchuk is considered a man very close to Putin. In fact, the Russian president is the godfather of his youngest daughter, Daria.

video sharing

In a message also recorded, Medvedchuk calls for an exchange for the defenders and the population of Mariúpol

While the videos of the marriage were made public, the Russian state television channel Rossiya24 showed the two British prisoners. Both are asking their government, and in particular Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to intercede in favor of a swap for Medvedchuk.

The man showing them the video of Oksana Marchenko asks Aslin: “Do you think this appeal to Boris Johnson will be heard and your government will try to exchange you?” The prisoner replies: “I think Boris needs to hear what Oksana has said… If Boris Johnson really cares about British citizens, as he says, then he will help pressure Zelensky to do the right thing and bring Viktor back.” to his family and us to our families”.

Using the businessman as a bargaining chip is not new, since Zelensky himself suggested it last week when he announced his arrest. “I propose to the Russian Federation to exchange your guy for our boys and girls who are now in Russian captivity,” he said in a video he posted on Telegram.

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