“Putin is not being stopped”: Ukrainian MP
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This week US President Joe Biden called for Putin to be tried for war crimes as evidence emerged of atrocities allegedly committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. Mr Biden said “this guy is brutal,” adding that he believed the Russian leader “is a war criminal”. The President’s comments came after the publication of satellite photos by earth observation company Maxar which showed bodies lining the streets of Bucha — a city near Kyiv — during Russia’s occupation of the area.
Russia has responded by claiming no civilians had suffered under the Russian occupation of Bucha and added, without evidence, that the images had been staged by Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government has started a war crimes investigation after it alleged that 410 civilian bodies had been discovered in areas around the capital.
Some were found in mass graves while others had their hands behind their back and showed signs of being shot from close range, according to reports.
Since Putin launched his brutal invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on February 24, many have speculated about the Russian President’s motivations.
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A consensus of thinkers have suggested that Putin may be trying to re-claim Russia’s place as a global powerhouse, with the leader having frequently lamented the demise of “historical Russia”.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Putin returned to St Petersburg from Dresden, where he had been serving as a KGB agent.
However, the downfall of the bloc saw St Petersburg fall into violence comparable to Thirties Chicago, where Al Capone famously ran the roost.
In 2018, Putin admitted that he slept with a gun by his side to protect himself during St Petersburg’s era of violence.
He said: “In my country home, I had to put a pump-action shotgun near my bed, this is true.
But these times were back then ‒ better to be safe than sorry.
“There are so many fairy tales about criminal St Petersburg. But things were violent.
“And it’s true I slept with my gun, such were the times.”
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Putin had previously called the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was ruled from Moscow, as the “greatest political catastrophe” of the 20th century.
Speaking to Russian state channel RIA in December, Putin openly rued Russia’s demise in the Nineties.
He said: “It was a disintegration of historical Russia under the name of the Soviet Union.
“We turned into a completely different country. And what had been built up over 1000 years was largely lost.”
Putin noted that 25 million people in newly independent countries found themselves cut off from Russia, part of what he called a “major humanitarian tragedy”.
Former KGB foreign operations officer Vladimir Yakunin has also previously spoken about the chaos that descended St Petersburg.
In 2020, he appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Putin: A Russian Spy Story’, and made the comparison between the Russian city then and Chicago in the Thirties, also touching on what he believed Putin thought and felt about the situation.
He said: “I don’t think [Putin] welcomed these changes.
“He knew he had to return back from the GDR, a country which didn’t exist anymore, back to St Petersburg with his wife and two daughters.
“When the institutions lost their ability to function, of course criminality is rising.
“There were killings every single day. They had bombings every single day.
“There’s people being killed left and right ‒ it’s pretty much comparable to Chicago in the Thirties.
“And probably Chicago wasn’t as violent.”
The spike in violence was caused by a sudden redistribution of property and decline in living standards.
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