Ukrainian tycoon asks Putin, Ukraine to exchange prisoners

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Ukrainian tycoon asks Putin, Ukraine to exchange prisoners

High-profile prisoners held by both Russia and Ukraine, including two British fighters believed to have been captured in Mariupol, appealed on Monday to be exchanged.

Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the richest tycoons in Ukraine and close ally of Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, appeared in a 34-second video posted by the Security Service of Ukraine. Medvedchuk, 67, the leader of a Ukrainian political party, asked both Mr. Putin and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to exchange him for the people defending Mariupol as well as any civilians trapped in the shattered southern port city.

When the war started, Medvedchuk, who had been under house arrest on treason charges but escaped, had been shown after he was captured on April 12, handcuffed, in military fatigues, and looking disheveled and dazed. His hair was combed in his appeal on Monday, and he was wearing a zippered sweater.

Medvedchuk was considered particularly close to Putin, who was godfather to his youngest daughter.