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“Putin is not at war with Ukraine. He is at war with the United States and NATO,” Mikhail Khodorkovsky told CNN.
The exiled oligarch said propagandists “have already begun to prepare Russian society for an attack on NATO countries.”
If Putin decides he has won in Ukraine, he will prepare to invade the Baltics, Khodorkovsky said.
Exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that the next stage of Vladimir Putin’s war could be the invasion of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“We have to understand that, in his head, Putin is not at war with Ukraine. He is at war with the United States and NATO,” Khodorkovsky said. “He said that more than once.”
Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon, was considered the richest man in Russia until 2003 when, for what he says were political reasons, Putin accused him of financial crimes and imprisoned for nine years. Since Khodorkovsky’s release in 2013, he has been a vocal critic of the Kremlin and Putin’s regime.
“His propagandists have already begun to prepare Russian society for an attack on NATO countries. They constantly talk about it,” Khodorkovsky said. “And this is the preparation of Russian public opinion for this.”
Earlier this month, Khodorkovsky predicted that invading Ukraine would end Putin’s regime. However, in his Sunday interview with Fareed Zakaria, he expressed concern that Putin had gone “crazy” when the Ukrainians resisted the invasion and that the attacks could intensify.
“I am absolutely convinced that if Putin decides he has won in Ukraine, it will not be the last stage, the last war,” Khodorkovsky said. “The next steps will be the Baltic countries.”
The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all members of NATO. President Joe Biden has previously said the United States will “defend every square inch of NATO territory” and has moved US troops to the region.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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