It pretty much says it all when you start asking your own country to exchange you so that you can flee to Russia. And Medvedchuk is not just any Ukrainian, but one of the wealthiest men in the country, or was. He also used to be a politician, before Zelensky had him put under house arrest for his pro-Putin activities which were getting Ukrainians killed. Putin is the godfather to his youngest daughter, Darya.
Ukraine on Monday aired a video showing Viktor Medvedchuk, a detained pro-Russia tycoon and ally of President Vladimir Putin, seeking to be exchanged in return for an evacuation of civilians and troops from the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukraine's unexpectedly fierce resistance since Russian troops invaded the former Soviet state and pro-democratic country on February 24.
"I want to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to exchange me for Ukrainian defenders and residents of Mariupol," he said in the video published by Kyiv's security services, wearing black clothes and looking directly into the camera.
Medvedchuk, who escaped from house arrest after Russia's invasion and was detained last week, said the troops and residents there "do not have the possibility of a safe exit through humanitarian corridors".
Russia has begun airing these appeals by two British soldiers that Russia calls mercenaries captured in Mariupol. Russia has said it won't swap them, nor call them prisoners of war so that they'd have to hold to the Geneva Conventions.