Ukrainian adviser claims pro-Kremlin politician escaped house arrest, lawyer denies


Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the political party Opposition Platform – For Life, attends a hearing in Kiev, Ukraine May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko/File Photo

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Feb 27 (Reuters) – Ukrainian opponent Viktor Medvedchuk has escaped house arrest, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Sunday, although Medvedchuk’s lawyer quickly denied the allegation.

Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Platform – For Life party, had been under house arrest since last year after authorities opened a treason case against him.

Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian figure who claims Russian President Vladimir Putin is his daughter’s godfather, denies any wrongdoing.

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Medvedchuk’s lawyer said Medvedchuk was forced to move due to threats from nationalist groups and informed the authorities.

“Due to the real danger to life, as well as the need to ensure his protection, Viktor Medvedchuk was evacuated to a safe place in Kyiv,” lawyer Larysa Cherednychenko said.

Medvedchuk would continue to fulfill his legal obligations while hearing the treason case, she added.

Medvedchuk has been under house arrest since last May, accused of treason and attempting to plunder state resources in Crimea, a part of Ukraine that Russia annexed in 2014.

His arrest stirred the Kremlin last year and news of his possible escape comes as Russia unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. British intelligence believe Russia intended to install a pro-Russian puppet government, a claim the Kremlin brushed aside.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Lviv; Written by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alison Williams

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