17 Apr 2022 11:08 am
In an emotional video speech, the wife of the imprisoned Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk addressed Putin. Accordingly, her husband gave his consent to be exchanged and extradited to Russia.
Oksana Marchenko, the wife of jailed Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, released a video address to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend, asking for his support in her husband’s release. It’s not her first request. Marchenko had previously appealed to the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this week.
In the video, she asks Putin to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to exchange her husband for two British mercenaries who were reportedly surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol earlier this week. Accordingly, her husband gave his consent “to be exchanged and transferred to the territory of the Russian Federation, should the Russian and Ukrainian sides reach appropriate agreements”.
“You know very well that the trial scheduled for Viktor has nothing to do with common sense and is a vivid example of unlawful reprisals against an unwanted politician for his consistent, principled and open attitude,” Marchenko said in her address to Putin. She does not believe in the possibility of a fair trial for her husband and argued that the exchange could be a way to “save” him, Marchenko said.
That hope would have inspired her earlier appeal to the families and friends of British nationals Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “But something else is important: my husband’s life is just as important to me as the lives of thousands of SBU prisoners who are now languishing in the SBU dungeons. People are only being taken away because they have spoken their minds and the told the truth,” the video says.
She added that there were many well-known personalities among the detainees, to which the wife of the detained opposition politician named several public and cultural figures. “I ask you to do everything in your power to release these people and, of course, my husband, too,” Marchenko appealed to Putin. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had previously expressed the hope that Boris Johnson would respond promptly to Marchenko’s proposal. She also suggested that British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss should explain what the British are doing in Ukraine in the first place.
In addition to her appeals to Putin, Johnson and the families of Aslin and Pinner, Marchenko also taped an address to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday. Citing the “historically close ties” between Riyadh and the UK, she expressed hope that bin Salman could speak to Johnson, who in turn could persuade Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to swap Medvedchuk for the British.
More on the subject – Live ticker on the Ukraine war