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Prisoner requested by Putin released in exchange with Ukraine – Erdogan

The Turkish president did not identify the individual, but media outlets speculated that he was talking about Ukrainian opposition figure Viktor Medvedchuk

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Turkey to secure the release of a person held by Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, commenting on a prisoner swap through Turkey.

“One of the names was repeated several times by Mr. Putin. We have already sent this person to Russia,” said the Turkish president, speaking to reporters on Friday.

Turkey brokered a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine earlier this week. Some of the Ukrainian fighters freed by Russia will remain in Turkey like what Erdogan described as his “guests.”

While the Turkish leader did not identify the person sent to Russia, whose fate he says is of particular interest to Putin, some media outlets have speculated that he was referring to Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian opposition politician who was arrested by the Ukrainian government for alleged treason.

The Ukrainian politician was released by kyiv as part of the swap, according to officials in kyiv and the Russian-allied Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Read more

Ukrainian opposition leader freed – DPR

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed his country had secured 200 fighters for the man, whom he called a “Fan of Russia”. He also said five senior members of the Azov Battalion, a unit in which some members openly espouse neo-Nazi ideology, will remain in Turkey.

DPR leader Denis Pushilin credited Medvedchuk with brokering several prisoner swaps between DPR militia and Kyiv in the past, explaining why the Ukrainian national was part of this week’s exchange.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Medvedchuk’s whereabouts and urged reporters to check the Defense Ministry’s official statement on the prisoner swap, which did not mention the politician.

Medvedchuk was the leader of an opposition party called “Opposition Platform – For Life” (OPZZh), which had the second largest faction in the Ukrainian parliament after Zelensky’s political force, “Servant of the People”. He pleaded for reconciliation with Russia, arguing that escalating confrontation would be disastrous for his country.

The Ukrainian government arrested Medvedchuk last year for treason just after his party overtook the president’s in popularity. Kyiv has since banned the OPZZh, using the conflict with Russia as justification to step up the crackdown on politicians and media critical of Zelensky.

rt Gt

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