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Russia-Ukraine war: Wife of Putin's 'best friend' asks Erdogan to free him from detention

Oksana Marchenko issues video appeal after Kyiv announced her fugitive husband Viktor had been captured
Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after he is arrested by an operation of Ukraine security forces on 12 April (Reuters)
Pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after he was arrested in an operation by Ukrainian security forces on 12 April (Reuters)

The wife of the Ukrainian oligarch dubbed Vladimir Putin’s best friend asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to help arrange her husband's release in a video posted on YouTube on Wednesday. 

Ukraine said on Tuesday that it has captured Viktor Medvedchuk, a wealthy businessman and the leader of the pro-Russian For Life Party, who allegedly fled in late February while out on bail.

He was arrested in 2021 on charges of treason. Medvedchuk denies the charges.

His wife, Oksana Marchenko, said in the video message that she is seeking Erdogan’s help for his release. 

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“I, Oksana Marchenko, wife of opposition leader Ukrainian deputy Viktor Medvedchuk, apply to you with a request for help,” she said.

“On 12 April, my husband was sent by the Security Service of Ukraine on Zelensky's personal instruction. He was illegally detained and is currently being held as a hostage unlawfully in an unknown location. Previously, they tried to convict my husband in a political case. My husband did not violate any law." 

Viktor Medvedchuk, 67, has longstanding ties with Putin and asked the Russian president to be his child's godfather.

“You are in favour of peaceful dialogue. You have repeatedly said that you are a friend of my country - Ukraine - and a friend of Russia. I believe in it.

"As they say in Turkey, a good friend is known on a rainy day,” Marchenko added. 

She also recorded another video prior to this one, asking Zelensky to release her husband.