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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  April 23, 2022 2:30pm-3:00pm BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines...
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ukraine says russian forces have resumed attempts to storm the azovstal steel plant — the final pocket of ukrainian resistance in the city of mariupol. campaigning has ended in france's presidential election, as emmanuel macron and his far—right rival marine le pen urge people to turn out and vote on sunday. downing street has confirmed that the prime minister has not yet received any further fines for breaking lockdown rules. supermarkets across the uk are limiting how much cooking oil customers are able to buy — as supplies are hit by the war in ukraine. and tyson fury will take on dillian whyte later in what's expected to be one of the biggest all—british heavyweight fights in boxing history. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. what lessons have the russians learned from the progress — or lack of it — of their military offensive in ukraine? right now, russian forces are focused on the east of the country — the donbas. and what happens in the next few weeks will be critical for the future of ukraine, of russia and of european security. my guest is the former russian oligarch turned arch putin foe mikhail khodorkovsky. if putin is cornered, how will he respond? mikhail khodorkovsky, welcome to hardtalk. speaks russian. western leaders say that vladimir putin invasion of ukraine must fail. do you think they understand
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what it will take to ensure that putin's war ends in defeat? in a sense, this war is about will — it's about the will and determination of putin, about the will of ukrainians, led by zelensky, and also
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about the will of the west to confront putin. whose will, right now, do you think is the strongest? you know putin well — i'd be interested in your answer. really? because there is a school of thought in the west that
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putin cannot afford a humiliation in ukraine. and if he is facing humiliation, he will use all of the weaponry at his disposal, including weapons of mass destruction — including, some believe, nuclear weapons. are you saying that fear is misplaced?
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you visited washington, dcjust a few days ago. you spoke to us officials, you've seen their latest assistance package for ukraine — $800 million of new weaponry, perhaps some heavier weaponry than we've seen before, but still nothing like the list that president zelensky wants of heavy artillery, fighter jets — all sorts of things which he is not getting. as you talk to the americans and to european leaders as well, do you believe that they will never provide this weaponry or perhaps they'll provide it but maybe, it will be too late? what is your message to them?
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this isn'tjust about weapons, is it? it's also about the vast amounts of money that the west, particularly the europeans, send to russia every single day, every single week, every month of the year in terms of payments for oil and gas — hundreds of millions of dollars every single day.
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why hasn't that oil and gas revenue to russia been cut off?
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but we are where we are. the german chancellor scholz says that if germany was to cut off the taps — the gas taps from russia tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of germans would be thrown out of work. do you really believe that is a politically viable option for a country like germany?
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crosstalk. let me stop you there. because you are the former boss of yukos energy. you were once arguably russia's richest energy oligarch. you know that sector better than anybody. if europe, in particular, stopped buying russian oil and gas, how quickly would putin's war machine and the russian economy collapse? or at least no longer be able to function in the way it functions today?
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in the meantime, what we see as europe discusses oil and gas — but, frankly, does very little about it — what we see is some limited sanctions on the banking sector, they've stopped importing coal — or at least they're promising to — and they've taken measures to freeze the huge reserves of russian money in overseas banks and they've targeted oligarchs. you speak to me as a former russian oligarch. do you think the seizing of yachts, the telling roman abramovich he can no longer own chelsea football club — do all of these big, headline measures, do they make any difference?
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as you see the terrible events unfold in ukraine and you reflect on more than two decades of putin in power, do you, in any sense, feel a sense of responsibility and deep regret that, going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, you were one of the power brokers in russia that actually aided and supported putin in his bid to take power after yeltsin? without you, putin might have struggled. with you, he was a politicalforce. do you regret your association with him?
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do you think he changed or did you get him wrong at the beginning?
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and you obviously paid a very heavy price, not least ten years in russian prison. and you today are a very passionate campaigner against putin and for what you call an open russia, with an open russia foundation, with an anti—putin coalition of exiled politicians. you are doing everything you can to change russia from outside but would you accept that what we see today is the failure of your political campaign against putin?
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i'm sure you are aware of the total information control that the kremlin operates. you're aware of the narrative that putin and his associates are giving to the russian people. that this is russia's defensive war, that nato is seeking to undermine russian security and that russia has a fundamental right to send its forces into a war
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which is safeguarding russian culture, russian history and russia's future. that seems to be a message that resonates with the people and that's why i'm wondering whether your message that this is putin's war, rather than a russian war, whether that is missing a very important point.
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but i want you to address a somewhat different point, which is simply this: the soviet empire collapsed 30 years ago. in countries like ukraine they have begun to build a civil society, democratic institutions, the rule of law. it is very far from perfect but the process has begun. why, three decades on, has that process not even really begun in russia and people like you have poured
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money into 0pen russia foundation and other civil society initiatives, have failed. why?
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do you feel ashamed of your own country today? because you live outside it, you live in a very different world and ijust wonder whether you really feel russian anymore or whether you just feel shame about your country.
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you said just a short time ago that you were absolutely sure,
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and i'm quoting you, "putin's regime is going to end very soon." why do you say that? and then what, and then what? what are the alternatives for the russian people in terms of leadership?
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boris nemtsov, one of the leading opposition politicians, dead. alexey navalny, perhaps the biggest opposition figure today, locked up in a prison. people like you, garry kasparov, all exiled, no longer even in russia. what kind of leadership is russia going to get? is it going to be one of putin's associates? and if so, why should things change?
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do you intend to go back to being part of that, as you see it, post—putin, very different russian future? mikhail khodorkovsky, i thank you very much, indeed, for being on hardtalk. thank you.
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in edinburgh, you can see the castle overlooking some blossoms. today, we've got a lot of dry weather back to the north of the uk, the north atlantic is full of cloud and this will move towards the uk next week. for now, the far east whether we have at the moment is across wales and western areas of england, a few showers coming, one or two in the midlands, wales, and the south—west, but otherwise a dry story with some
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sunny breaks coming through. the winds coming in from the north—easterly direction, gusty and cool because they are travelling across the chilly waters of the north sea where sea temperatures are onlyjust north sea where sea temperatures are only just from eastern north sea where sea temperatures are onlyjust from eastern coastal areas, 13 to 15 degrees but southern and western areas, temperatures quite widely into the high teens, pleasant in the sunshine for sure. tonight, most will keep the clear weather but there will be a few patches of rain in the far south of england for a time. stay in cardiff in northern scotland but with clear skies elsewhere, about three to 7 degrees for most of us heading into sunday morning. sunday, anotherfine day for most of us, they will affect the eastern coastal areas, cloudy and northern scotland, fewer showers around, more of you having a drier day and again, temperatures reaching the high teens in the sunshine. those are in western and southern areas. monday, most of us will again
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have bright or sunny spells but we are going to see some showers building, that equally across central and eastern england, one or two on the heavy side as well but away from central england, are largely dry day. with more cloud around, the temperatures will come down. on the here comes the cloud, filtering down the north sea on the northerly winds and spreading on land. from tuesday onwards, the cloudier and cooler, just 9 degrees in aberdeen and newcastle, and southern areas, 16 for cardiff and london. the rest of the week looks cloudy, a tendency for the temperatures to drop away with the best of any limited sunny spells tending to be across sheltered western areas, so western england, western areas, so western england, western wales, northern ireland and western wales, northern ireland and western parts of scotland as well having the sunniest weather next week.
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this is bbc news — welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm ben boulos. our top stories... ukraine says russian forces have resumed attempts to storm the azovstal steel plant — the final pocket of ukrainian resistance in the city of mariupol. campaigning ends in france's presidential election — with emmanuel macron and his far—right rival marine le pen urging people to turn out and vote on sunday. 26 passengers and crew are missing after a tourist boat reportedly sinks off the northern island of hokkaido injapan.


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