Russia: Putin ‘respects strength’ says General Shirreff
Billionaire Dmytro Firtash said Putin cannot win in Ukraine. He said: “He is never going to come out victorious. No matter what happens, Russia will lose.”
“It’s time to stop. There will be no victory. The longer this war takes, the worse it will be for the Russian people. Not just for the Ukrainian people.”
His comments come after wealthy Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov condemned Moscow’s “crazy war” in Ukraine, saying 90 percent of his countrymen did not support it.
Fellow oligarch Olg Deripaska in March called for peace and warned Russia would be different after the conflict which has raged since February 24.
In an interview with NBC News, Mr Firtash, 56, said he was never pro-Russian, adding: “But you have to understand that I am a businessman. And my goal is to earn money. That’s my job.”
A Ukrainian oligarch says Putin cannot win in Ukraine
Mr Firtash made his fortune as a middleman for Russian gas exports
Asked if he worried he was risking his life by speaking against Putin now, he said: “It’s hard to say. But my understanding of this is simple. I don’t really have a choice. To believe that in 2022, in the centre of Europe, that such a massacre can be taking place, no normal person could believe it.”
Mr Firtash has been fighting extradition to the US to face charges of conspiracy to pay bribes in India.
He lives under house arrest in Austria and strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
Britain and fellow allies of Ukraine have imposed far-reaching sanctions against Moscow’s wealthy oligarchs and political elites since Russia invaded its neighbour.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Liz Truss delivers a speech at Mansion House
On Wednesday, Russia banned 287 MPs from entering the country, accusing them of fuelling “Russophobic hysteria” in Britain.
The move sparked a defiant response from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mr Johnson, who was banned from Russia on April 16, told parliament: “All those 287 should regard it as a badge of honour.”
The sanctions list includes ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg, Amanda Milling and Penny Mordaunt as well as Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
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Russian losses according to Ukraine
Russia’s foreign ministry said the sanctions were in response to the UK imposing similar restrictions on 386 members of its own lower house of parliament on March 11.
It added in a statement: “These persons… took the most active part in the establishment of anti-Russian sanctions instruments in London, and contribute to the groundless whipping up of Russophobic hysteria in the UK.”
The Kremlin had singled out Mr Johnson as “the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian”.
Moscow warned London this week of a “proportional response” if it continued to provoke Ukraine to strike targets in Russia.
People watch flames coming out of a residential building in Kharkiv
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday it was no longer good enough only to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons to combat Russia’s invasion.
She told parliament: “For too long, there was a false distinction between defensive and offensive weapons. It became an excuse for some to drag their feet. That time has now passed.”
In its latest briefing, the Ministry of Defence states that about 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are in the Black Sea.
It notes that the Kremlin is unable to replace missile cruiser Moskva – the sunken flagship of the Black Sea Fleet – because the Bosporus Strait remains closed to non-Turkish warships.
However, the statement warns: “Despite the embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets.”
Putin warned of lightning-fast retaliation if countries interfere in Ukraine, while U.S. President Joe Biden was set to comment on Thursday in support of Ukraine’s fight against “Russia’s brutal war”.
Moscow has told Washington DC to stop sending arms to Ukraine, claiming large deliveries of weapons from the West were inflaming the conflict.
Putin, speaking in St Petersburg on Wednesday, said the West wanted to cut Russia up into pieces and accused it of pushing Ukraine into conflict with Russia.
He said: “If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside, and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast.”
“We have all the tools for this, things no one else can boast of having now. And we will not boast, we will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that.”
His comments come ahead of a speech by US President Joe Biden on Thursday in support of “Ukrainians defending their country and their freedom against Russia’s brutal war”.