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‘Hero of Ukraine’ could be swapped with Russia – Zelensky aide

The president of Motor Sich was charged with treason and faces over a decade in prison

The head of a prestigious Ukrainian manufacturer of aircraft engines, Motor Sich, could be used in a prisoner swap with Russia, an aide to President Vladimir Zelensky told local media. Vyacheslav Boguslaev was accused of treason and arrested for allegedly selling products to Moscow.

A court in Kiev ordered the pretrial detention of Boguslaev, 83, on Monday, after the domestic security agency (SBU) claimed that the man had been secretly selling spare parts and engines to Russian helicopter producers. Commenting on the news on the same day, Zelensky aide Mikhail Podoliak suggested that the man could be swapped for troops captured by Russian forces.

“We will use any opportunity, any individual… to get our guys back,” he said, describing Boguslaev as a “fake” Ukrainian national, unlike the soldiers he could be swapped for.

The Kremlin responded to the idea on Tuesday, expressing skepticism about its source. The Russian presidential office is not dealing with prisoner exchanges, “and as far as we know, neither is Mr. Podoliak,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

In the interview, Podoliak hailed the arrest of Boguslaev, stating that Zelensky’s office had an “absolutely positive reaction” to it. He expressed hope that more prosecutions like this will follow.

“We have plenty of subjects like that one. For 30 years, they have been building careers, including by serving Russian political and economic interests,” he said. “Here, they were honored with titles like Hero of Ukraine, and had patrons on different levels.”

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In addition to being at the helm of Motor Sich since 1991, Boguslaev is a veteran politician. He served as an MP for several terms and held various advisory positions under former Ukrainian presidents, from Leonid Kravchuk to Viktor Yanukovich. In 2000, he was awarded ‘Hero of Ukraine’ for his accomplishments – one of many honors he has received. 

Podoliak called Boguslaev a “red director,” a term used for former Soviet officials who privatized factories that they controlled in the wake of the collapse of the USSR. Last year, Zelensky ordered the nationalization of Motor Sich amid a row with investors from China over ownership of the company.

According to the presidential aide, “a third of the public, or rather the political class” in Ukraine is “oriented towards Russia” in some way. 

“The era of post-Soviet icons is over. I really hope that in addition to Boguslaev, other ‘red directors’, who have not picked a side” will be held accountable, he said, arguing that the conflict against Russia has made this possible. “I believe a final solution regarding them needs to be taken.”

READ MORE: Ukraine arrests head of aerospace giant over alleged Russia links

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged Boguslaev with treason, a felony that could result in a sentence of at least ten years in prison. The first hearing against him was held behind closed doors. Another Motor Sich official, export department head Oleg Dzyuba, was also arrested.

https://ift.tt/zbyLl9S 25, 2022 at 06:29PM
from RT – Daily news

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