European leaders should avoid the mistake of negotiating an end to the Ukraine war with Vladimir Putin because "he is not a statesman but a bandit."That's the stark warning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the exiled businessman who was once considered the wealthiest man in Russia and is today a leading critic of the country's president.Since the Kremlin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, several leaders, notably President Emmanuel Macron of France, have been engaged in phone calls with Putin in a bid to change his mind – to no avail.German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and European Council President Charles Michel have all held unsuccessful calls with their Russian counterpart.Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer even travelled to Moscow to meet with Putin in person.This diplomatic campaign has been harshly criticised by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy, as well as by Poland and the Baltic states, who consider the calls a form of appeasement with an alleged war criminal.In an interview with Euronews, Mikhail Khodorkovsky struck a similar note on the matter."The leaders of the major European countries still believe they can negotiate something with Putin without demonstrating their force and that they can talk to him from what he perceives to be a weak position.
And this is a dramatic mistake because he is not a statesman like they are but a bandit," Khodorkovsky said."And what does a bandit do in this kind of situation when he considers himself strong and when he's being pushed to make a step towards them?Read more on euronews.com