President Volodymyr Zelensky has revoked the citizenship of four highly controversial political figures, saying the move was entirely appropriate for those who "choose to serve not the people of Ukraine, but the murderers who came to Ukraine".
That sounds serious.
It is. The most high-profile of the four was once seen as Russian President Vladimir Putin's top ally in Kyiv and is accused of high treason, so it’s about as serious as it gets.
Who is he?
Viktor Medvedchuk is a 68-year-old former Ukrainian lawmaker and super-rich powerbroker once dubbed the “dark prince” of Ukrainian politics.
In 2021, he was accused of high treason, attempting to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea, and of handing Ukrainian military secrets to Moscow.
He was captured in April 2022 by Ukraine's special services, after fleeing home arrest when Russia invaded.
“You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for concealment… But will it help you escape punishment? Not at all! Shackles await you,” Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) Chief Ivan Bakanov said at the time.
Medvedchuk was one of more than 50 prisoners handed over to Russia in September in exchange for 215 imprisoned Ukrainian soldiers.
The swap was the biggest exchange between warring sides since the start of Russia's invasion in Feb. 2022.
Who are the other three?
The others to lose their Ukrainian citizenship include Andriy Derkach – an alleged Russian agent and wealthy former member of the Ukraine parliament.
In June, Derkach was accused by the Ukrainian government of supporting Russia's invasion and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The U.S. Justice Department has said Derkach also took part in an effort to smear President Joe Biden over his son Hunter Biden's Ukraine ties, AFP reports.
Another, Taras Kozak, has been accused by the U.S. of being involved in operations by Russia's FSB intelligence service to undermine the Ukrainian government and economy.
Renat Kuzmin, also a Ukrainian politician suspected of links with Russia, was the fourth man Zelensky said would be stripped of his citizenship.
What else did Zelensky say?
The president gave a veiled warning to anyone else with a dubious history, saying: “And these are not the last such decisions.
“The security services are working.”
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