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Exiled Russian oligarch says Putin went ‘crazy’ after Ukrainians didn’t welcome his invasion and ‘met him with flowers’ as he planned

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Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • Ukraine’s resistance to Putin’s invasion drove him “crazy”, a former Russian oligarch has claimed.

  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky told CNN that Putin expected to meet “flowers” in Ukraine.

  • “It didn’t just piss him off, I really think it literally drove him crazy,” Khodorkovsky said.

An exiled Russian oligarch says Putin had gone “mad” after anticipating that the Ukrainian people would “meet him with flowers” when he invaded the country.

“At first what he wanted was to change power in kyiv, put on his puppet, and expected that to meet with flowers thrown in the streets by the Ukrainian people,” said Mikhail Khodorkovsky, l former CEO of the Russian oil giant. Yukos, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria told Sunday.

Khodorkovsky – who was once Russia’s richest man and was jailed for nine years for fraud and tax evasion until his release in 2013 – has been a vocal critic of Putin. He said his imprisonment was politically motivated.

He told Zakaria that when the Ukrainians resisted the invasion, Putin went crazy.

“The fact that the people of Kharkiv didn’t meet him with flowers not only made him angry, but I really think it drove him literally crazy. That’s when ‘He started bombing Kharkiv and kyiv,” Khodorkovsky said.

Khodorkovsky said Putin had three ways out of this crisis: continue to pressure Ukraine, use weapons of mass destruction to force the Ukrainians to retreat, or start “real” negotiations.

Last month, the exiled oligarch said war in Ukraine would bring down Putin.

“I’m convinced there isn’t much time left for Putin. Maybe a year, maybe three,” he told CNN.

On Saturday, Russia’s former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov told CNN’s Erin Burnett that senior Russian government officials were “personally devastated” by Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, adding that it was only a matter of months before Putin loses power.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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