October 2, 2022

RUSSIA’S bloody war with Ukraine could drag on for another decade and leave hundreds of thousands dead, one of Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics has warned.

Speaking to The Sun Online, US-born British financier and political activist Bill Browder claimed the West is only waking up to the fact Putin is a “monster” 22 years too late.

Bill Browder warned that the West had woken up to the danger of Putin 'too late'

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Bill Browder warned that the West had woken up to the danger of Putin ‘too late’Credit: AFP
The Russia-Ukraine war 'could last another decade' according to an expert

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The Russia-Ukraine war ‘could last another decade’ according to an expertCredit: Getty
Vladimir Putin is prepared to fight on until the end, one of his critics has claimed

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Vladimir Putin is prepared to fight on until the end, one of his critics has claimedCredit: Alamy

“This war doesn’t end,” he said. “The war didn’t start on February 24, it started back in 2014 when Putin seized the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.”

He accused many in the West of “mental gymnastics” over the past eight years to call the war the work of “Russian-backed separatists,” rather than an official Kremlin-sanctioned mission.

Mr Browder has been dubbed one Putin’s “true enemies” and is believed to be on the Russian tyrant’s hit list – with multiple attempts made to arrest him and being subjected to death threats.

He previously testified to US Congress that mad Vlad is the “the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world” – estimating his fortune could be as much as £150billion.

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“This war could easily go on for another eight years,” the anti-corruption campaigner told The Sun Online.

“Putin is not going to give up and the Ukrainians are not going to give up.

“The closest comparable is the Iran-Iraq war which went on a decade and killed a million people.”

He also warned of a further escalation from Putin if the war continues to go badly for Russia.

“Putin has catastrophically failed both in terms of military strategy and in terms of his interaction with the West,” he said.

“His army and economy are being decimated, neither of which he predicted, and I suspect that Putin’s next step is some type of dramatic escalation, if not to give him the upper hand, then at least to show how brutal he is.”

He said if Putin decided that a military victory was impossible, he would instead target a “scorched earth” policy, repeating the devastation of Mariupol across Ukraine.

This could be followed by the full mobilisation of up to two million Russian reservists, and even a biological, chemical, or nuclear attack.

We are finally waking up to the fact Putin is a monster 22 years too late

Bill BrowderPutin critic

“He has the capability to do all of these things,” Mr Browder added.

Browder warned that Putin could also be prepared to follow the example of North Korea, and transform his nation into a war economy that exists solely for the conflict with Ukraine.

“If Putin wants to do the same as Kim Jong-un he can starve his people and continue fighting for some time,” he said. “He certainly has the resources.”

He also denied that Putin’s actions in Ukraine were out of character for the Russian President.

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“Putin’s presidency came about after apartment bombs were set up in Russia and blamed on Chechens in order to trigger a war that killed 50,000,” he said.

“This is nothing new or unusual, it’s all totally in character for him. The problem is we are finally waking up to the fact Putin is a monster 22 years too late.”

As the war has dragged on, rumours have swirled of a palace coup triggered by disgruntled generals and oligarchs ousting the Russian leader.

However, Browder argued that there is “no chance” Putin will be overthrown by the oligarchs.

“Putin is constantly on the lookout for loyalty and disunity and neutralising those threats,” he said.

“He is so careful about those around him, constantly trying to provoke disloyalty through different means, brutal towards those who show disloyalty.”

Instead, he argued, the best chance of regime change in Russia was of a revolution from below.

“If ordinary Russians realised how badly Putin is losing the war, I don’t think they would tolerate him,” he said.

“The Russians like a successful strong, they can’t tolerate a weak loser. If the Ukrainians succeeding in driving him out of Crimea, he would immediately be overthrown by the people of Russia.”

Browder’s latest book Freezing Order is out now.

It documents his mission to go after the stolen $230 million over which his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was killed.

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He claims to have discovered that Vladimir Putin was one of the beneficiaries of the crime.

In order to stop their investigation, the Russian president killed more people, tried to kill others, and came after Browder “in the most unbelievably brutal way”.

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