Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once the richest man in Russia and now known as the “Kremlin’s leading critic-in-exile”, knows exactly how the West can twist Vladimir Putin’s arm and force Russia to the negotiating table with Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron has been particularly active in trying to negotiate a settlement with Putin – but has so far failed. He even suggested Ukraine should cede territory to Russia so Putin can somehow deliver some sort of victory to Russian citizens.
When asked whether Putin should be given concession as French President Emmanuel Macron did, Mr Khodorkovsky told CBC News: “I’m sure it’s not right. You need to show Putin strength.
“You need to show him that if he doesn’t stop, then he will be stopped. You need to give Ukraine three, four or five weapon systems that are equal to Putin’s military weapons.
“Only at the moment you show Putin that if he doesn’t stop, he will be stopped can negotiations begin.”
He added the main flaw of Western leaders is their incapacity to negotiate with “criminal” leaders.
He said: “In their lives, many Western leaders never communicated much with criminals.
“The communication rules in a criminal’s world are completely different from the rules that they’re used to.
“Like the respectable Mr Macron who’s been trying to negotiate with Putin when Putin considers himself with the upper hand.
“This only provokes Putin to be even more aggressive. That’s what I’m afraid Western leaders don’t understand.”
When asked how Putin’s regime will end, he said: “As long as Putin is able to show the Russian army and the people that he’s winning, there’s no threat to him.
“But at the moment that he loses, right at that moment, the situation will become absolutely different for him and most likely he’ll lose power along with his life.”
In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, he acquired Yukos, the world’s most valuable oil company and made a fortune until he grew critical of Putin’s regime and its rampant corruption.
He was charged and found guilty of embezzlement in a trial that was viewed as politically motivated. Eight years after Putin pardoned him, he wants to help the West bring the Ukraine war to a halt.
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