«Putin is at war not with Ukraine. He’s at war with the United States and NATO,» Mikhail Khodorkovsky told CNN.
The exiled oligarch said propagandists have «already been started to prepare Russian society for an attack on NATO countries.»
If Putin decides he has won in Ukraine, he will prepare to invade the Baltic countries, Khodorkovsky said.
Exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in an interview with CNN Sunday that the next step in Vladimir Putin’s war may be the invasion of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
«We must understand that, in his head, Putin is at war not with Ukraine. He’s at war with the United States and NATO,» Khodorkovsky said. «He said this more than once.»
Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon, was considered the wealthiest man in Russia until 2003 when, for what he says were political reasons, Putin charged him with financial crimes and imprisoned him for nine years. Since Khodorkovsky’s release in 2013, he has been an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and Putin’s regime.
«His propagandists have already been started to prepare Russian society for an attack on NATO countries. They’re constantly talking about this,» Khodorkovsky said. «And this is the preparation of Russian public opinion for this.»
Earlier this month, Khodorkovsky predicted the invasion of Ukraine would end Putin’s regime. However, in his Sunday interview with Fareed Zakaria, he expressed concern that Putin went «insane» when Ukrainians resisted the invasion and that the attacks could escalate.
«I’m absolutely convinced that, if Putin decides that he has won in Ukraine, this is not going to be the last step, 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 US will «defend every inch of NATO territory» and has moved American troops into the region.
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