'Gangster' Putin Will Invade NATO Territory Next If Ukraine Doesn't Win War: Oligarch

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The Kremlin has postponed Putin's annual direct line phone-in with the Russian people to a later date without explanation
The Kremlin has postponed Putin's annual direct line phone-in with the Russian people to a later date without explanation

A Russian oligarch warned Thursday that President Vladimir Putin could invade NATO territory if Ukraine fails to win the war. 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a self-exiled Russian oligarch and prominent critic of the Kremlin, made the warning during an interview with Euronews. He also called on NATO to continue arming Ukrainian soldiers to fight Russian forces, which began its invasion on Feb. 24. 

“Today, NATO has a great opportunity to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty by participating in this war with weapons, supplies and training Ukrainian soldiers, rather than fighting on its own territories,” Khodorkovsky said during the interview

“If this opportunity is missed, I issue a warning: in a few years, or perhaps even earlier, NATO will be directly involved in this war, because it will be happening on the territory of a NATO country.”

When asked why he thinks Putin launched the invasion, Khodorkovsky said the Russian leader plans to use the war to strengthen his electoral rating in preparation for the 2024 election. In addition, the oligarch said the war could also be an emotional response to "the fear of democratic transformation, the independence that Ukraine has gained."

Khodorkovsky also slammed the leaders of some European countries for believing they could negotiate with Putin about the war, adding that the Russian president is "different." 

“They're talking to a gangster. And any gangster who thinks they are in a position of strength and who is being asked to make concessions will in fact try to finish off his victim,” he said.

Khodorkovsky was once the richest man in Russia. However, he was arrested by Russian authorities in 2003 for tax evasion. In 2005, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for tax evasion. His jail time was later extended in 2010 when the Russian authorities added embezzlement and money laundering charges. Putin pardoned Khodorkovsky in late 2013. 

Khodorkovsky’s interview comes as Putin is set to meet with a group of other world leaders at an annual summit that will be hosted virtually by China this year. The group, called the BRICS alliance, is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. 

At the BRICS meeting, Putin may call on other group members to establish joint oil and gas refining facilities with Russia, which would reduce the bloc’s dependence on energy supplies from countries the Kremlin deems as “unreliable partners.”

None of the members of the BRICS alliance have condemned Russia’s invasion. Both China and India have also increased trade with Russia despite international sanctions imposed by Europe and the West. The increased trade with China and India has led Russia’s oil export revenues to jump by 11% in May, according to The Business Insider


Russian President Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war will loom over much of the issues debated in the G7 and NATO
Russian President Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war will loom over much of the issues debated in the G7 and NATO
Photo: SPUTNIK via AFP / Mikhail METZEL

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