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WSJ reveals details of Medvedchuk's exchange for Azov soldiers

WSJ reveals details of Medvedchuk's exchange for Azov soldiers Viktor Medvedchuk (
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The exchange of traitor Viktor Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainian soldiers, including Azov commanders, took place with the participation of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, according to The Wall Street Journal.

One of the largest exchanges between Ukraine and Russia took place on September 22, 2022, on the runway at Ankara Airport. The agency calls the exchange more complicated in terms of arrangements than the Russian-American exchange of pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko for Marine Trevor Reed.

According to the WSJ, the parties did not want to start negotiations. The head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, who oversaw the exchange, said he did not trust the Russians. Ukraine demanded the identification of the military held in Russian captivity.

The exchange took place after the head of the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, boarded the plane with the Ukrainians, took photos, and sent them to Kyiv.

The agency notes that the plane with 10 foreign volunteers, who were also released as part of the exchange, was accompanied to Riyadh by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

It is known that Viktor Medvedchuk was exchanged by Ukraine for 215 Ukrainian soldiers, including five commanders of the Azov brigade. Russia also returned 56 of its soldiers.

According to the agreement, the Azov soldiers were supposed to stay in Türkiye until the end of the war, but in July 2023, they returned to Ukraine.

The return of Ukrainian commanders from Türkiye caused hysteria in the Kremlin. The Russian dictator's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, accused Türkiye of violating the agreements that stipulated that Azovstal's defense commanders would be on Turkish territory until the end of the war in Ukraine.

Who is Medvedchuk?

Viktor Medvedchuk is the godfather of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's kid and the founder of the Opposition Platform for Life party, which is already banned in Ukraine. Even before the full-scale Russian invasion, he was suspected of treason.

He was under house arrest until February 2022 but then escaped. The Security Service of Ukraine detained Medvedchuk in April last year, and in September he was exchanged for the defenders of Mariupol. In particular, for Azov commanders who defended Azovstal.

His wife, Oksana Marchenko, also fled to Russia and is now there. She is involved in several high-profile cases.