Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed yesterday to respond to what he said was the persecution of Moscow-friendly politicians in Ukraine, accusing the West of turning a blind eye to Kyiv’s political “clean-up”.
With tensions between Moscow and Kyiv high, Ukraine this week placed Putin’s top ally Viktor Medvedchuk under house arrest on suspicion of high treason.
Medvedchuk is a pro-Russian lawmaker and one of Ukraine’s richest people.
He has said Putin is godfather to his youngest daughter Darya. The 66-year-old faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and says the accusations are politically motivated.
Speaking at a meeting of his security council yesterday, Putin said Western-backed Ukraine was being turned into “some kind of anti-Russia”.
“So what, everyone who’s working with Russia will now face criminal prosecution in Ukraine?” Putin said.
Ukraine, he said, was carrying out a “clean-up of the political landscape”, pointing also to the closing of some pro-Russian media.
“National media outlets are being shut down — and our Western partners are not reacting at all, if not to say supporting such rulings,” Putin said.“We will have to respond to this properly and in a timely fashion,” he said, without elaborating.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Medvedchuk was one of those who wanted ties between Russia and Ukraine to improve and cautioned against a “political
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