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Arrested oligarch offers himself in exchange for civilians in Mariupol

Viktor Medvedchuk has appealed to Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky to authorise the exchange..

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Viktor Medvedchuk has asked to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Viktor Medvedchuk has asked to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Viktor Medvedchuk has asked to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukraine’s state security service has posted a video of a Ukrainian politician held on a treason charge offering himself in exchange for the evacuation of Mariupol’s trapped civilians.

The video of Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party with personal ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, was posted on Monday.

In it, he appeals to Putin and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, by name to consider the exchange.

Medvedchuk was detained last Tuesday in a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s state security service, or the SBU.

The 67-year-old oligarch escaped from house arrest several days before the hostilities broke out on February 24 in Ukraine.

He is facing between 15 years and life in prison on charges of treason and aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation for mediating coal purchases for the separatist, Russia-backed Donetsk republic in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have said Kyiv wants to try Medvedchuk but to ultimately exchange him for Ukrainian prisoners.

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