‘He takes it personally!' Former Russian financier tells Biden of sly way to deter Putin

Bill Browder, who was one of Russia's biggest foreign investors until the Government accused him of tax fraud, appeared on Channel 4 News to discus

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Bill Browder, who was one of Russia’s biggest foreign investors until the Government accused him of tax fraud, appeared on Channel 4 News to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the West’s mission to push back Vladimir Putin. Mr Browder discussed the options available to the allies which included sanctions but pointed to a key piece of legislation that could target Putin’s executive right at the core. The businessman referred to the US “Magnitsky Act” which he helped lobby and explained Russian oligarchs have their money tied in the US which could very easily be targetted to put pressure on Putin.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mr Browder discussed the situation in Ukraine and what the US could do to challenge Putin.

He explained: “Himself, plus the other oligarchs and corrupt officials around him, have stolen an enormous amount of money from the state.

“And they keep all that money in the West, they don’t believe that it’s safe in Russia so they keep that in our banks.

“So, one doesn’t have to apply sanctions to the entire Russian economy to hit these guys, you can sanction the top 50 Russian oligarchs and you’ll hit them and you’ll hit Vladimir Putin who they hold money for.

“And that’s something that Vladimir Putin takes very personally very seriously.”

Host Matt Frei asked Mr Browder whether the threat of the targetted sanctions are being considered right now.

He responded: “Well, I don’t know exactly what was going on behind closed doors in Geneva but that’s the obvious thing to do.

“It’s one thing to use the blunt instrument, why not use the exact instrument?

However, he was accused of tax fraud by Russian prosecutors in a move he says was politically motivated.

Russian and Western officials met earlier this week to lay out demands over the crisis on the Ukrainian border.

Putin has demanded that Ukraine be excluded from NATO membership and that the organisation ends its movement to the east in exchange for a reduction of military forces near Ukraine.

Western allies have fought back against the demands, stating harsh economic sanctions would be placed on Russia if they choose to act on Ukraine.

However, President Joe Biden appeared to suggest that a “minor incursion” from Russia may go unpunished during a bizarre speech on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to the comments and tweeted: “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones.

“I say this as the President of a great power.”

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met with his Russian counterparts this week to try and diffuse the situation in Ukraine and to reaffirm America’s stance.

He said: “The United States and our European allies have repeatedly reached out to Russia with offers of diplomacy, in a spirit of reciprocity. So far, our good-faith gestures have been rebuffed…

“If Russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward Ukraine, a very good place to start would be by de-escalating by bringing back and removing these forces from Ukraine’s borders.”