A pro-Russia politician with ties to President Vladimir Putin, as well as other Russian-backed businesses and interests, was arrested on Tuesday, April 12, more than a month after he escaped house arrest during the chaos of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sixty-seven-year-old Viktor Medvedchuk was photographed wearing ill-fitting fatigues and handcuffed, and was offered by the Ukrainian government to Russia in exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war, which Russia rejected, according to the BBC.

“As regards the exchange, which various individuals in Kyiv are talking about with such passion and glee, Medvedchuk is not a citizen of Russia and he has nothing to do with the special military operation. He is a foreign politician,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Medvedchuk’s assets were then seized by the Ukrainian government after his arrest. Among the assets that were taken are 30 land plots, 23 houses, 32 apartments, 26 cars, and one yacht, the Daily Beast reported.

Medvedchuk was a lawyer for Soviet dissidents before becoming a businessman and a politician with pro-Kremlin sentiments and ties. He met President Putin in 2003, and while they are not described as friends, Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter.

An owner of multiple television stations and media publications, Medvedchuk has been accused of rigging the Presidential election vote in 2004. In 2021, he was charged with treason after an extensive investigation by the government, according to al-Jazeera.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy closed down his three television stations in 2021 and had him on house arrest as he awaited trial for his charges.

In spite of Russia refusing a prisoner swap for Medvedchuk, Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev, whom Medvedchuk has been photographed with on multiple occasions, has threatened the people who captured the pro-Russian politician and are holding him captive.

“These people should watch out and lock the doors well at night to make sure they do not become the people who are going to be exchanged themselves,” he said.

Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukraine politician and known Kremlin ally, whose daughter's godfather is Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been rearrested and his assets seized after he escaped house arrest during the beginning of the war. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Getty Images.

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