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The wife of Vladimir Putin's billionaire mate who has been arrested in Ukraine has called for him to be swapped with a hero Brit fighter captured by Russian troops.
Viktor Medvedchuk, 67, was captured in a raid by spooks from the security service in Ukraine, as 28-year-old Briton Aiden Aslin was fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol.
Aiden surrendered after his unit ran out of food and ammunition, and was paraded on Russian TV on Thursday with a nasty gash across his forehead.
Now, the wife of Medvedchuk, Oxana Marchenko, is calling on Ukraine to release her husband so him and Aiden can be swapped.
In the viral video, the desperate wife also mentions another British man, Shaun Pinner – but there is no confirmation that he too has been captured by the Russians.
She can be heard saying: "I, Oxana Marchenko, spouse of opposition politician, people’s deputy of Ukraine Viktor Medvedchyuk, address the relatives of captured citizens of Great Britain Aiden Aslin and of Shaun Pinner.
“It is in your power to ask the PM of your country Boris Johnson to influence Ukrainian leadership and to achieve Aiden’s and Shaun’s release by their exchange for….my husband Viktor Medvedchyuk."
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Marchenko – a former TV star who once hosted X Factor Ukraine – has also appealed to the country's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy for her husband's release.
Medvedchuk, the leader of Ukraine's main pro-Moscow party, has been described as a “personal friend” toVladimir Putin. The pair have been on holiday together and he is a Godfather to the Russian tyrant's daughter.
Medvedchuk was placed under house arrest last year to face treason and terrorism financing charges, which he denies. But he was able to escape a few days after the Russians invaded Ukraine.
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Aiden, from Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, was due to marry his Ukrainian fiancee last month. He laid down his arms with the country's 36th Marines after defending Mariupol during a six-week siege.
And, at the beginning of March, it was reported that former Royal Anglian Regiment soldier Shaun, 48, was fighting with the Ukrainians. His family have begged the government to do all it can to get him home.
There are fears Aiden will now be used by Putin as a propaganda tool.
His interrogator on Rossiya 1, military reporter Andrey Rudenko, told viewers: "Aiden Aslin is a subject of Great Britain.
"He is an English mercenary and fought on the side of the Nazis in Ukraine. I am sure that he will be able to shed light on the actions of Western intelligence agencies in Ukraine."
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- Russia Ukraine war
- Vladimir Putin
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