UKRAINE – A long-time pro-Russian Ukrainian politician, Nestor Shufrych, was detained while taking pictures of a checkpoint near Kyiv. He was detained by a unit of the region’s territorial defense unit after his security detail shot at his apprehenders.
Kyiv city councilman Oleksandr Pohrebynski was one of the first to announce the pro-Kremlin national lawmaker’s arrest on social media.
European Solidarity lawmaker Volodymyr Ariev said that the nation’s domestic intelligence agency, known as the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), will hold Mr. Shufrych in custody.
“Soldiers of Kyiv’s 206th Territorial Defense Battalion detained member of parliament Nestor Shufrych for photographing a checkpoint, and his bodyguards triggered fire when he was being detained,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Schemes investigative project reported.
Schemes reported that the guns fired from his security detail were confiscated as well. The pro-Moscow lawmaker was shown blindfolded as he was detained.
Mr. Shufrych is currently a member of parliament with the Opposition Party-For Life that is aligned with Moscow. He has publicly never acknowledged Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, which began in 2014 when Moscow forcibly seized the country’s Crimean Peninsula and subsequently invaded parts of the easternmost regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
A native of the westernmost Zakarpatia (Transcarpthia) region, he has been a member of parliament or involved in high-level politics since 1998 and his political activity has always been favorable to the Kremlin.
Since Ukraine required public officials and lawmakers to file yearly asset declarations, it became clear that Mr. Shufrych was a multi-millionaire, despite being in politics all is life. The standard range of salaries for politicians in Ukraine would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. Shufrych to have become a millionaire from his work in politics alone.
According to the Ukrainian-version of Forbes, he is involved in the still murky oil and gas business of Ukraine. Mr. Shufrych is also a long-time affiliate of Viktor Medvedchuk, a lawmaker in the same political party who is supposed to be under house arrest on suspicion of treason, though Mr. Medvedchuk’s whereabouts are unknown as Ukraine resists an all-out invasion by Russia to subjugate the country.