Released Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout backs Ukraine offensive | War in Ukraine
In this image taken from video provided by Russian television RU-24 on Friday, December 9, Russian citizen Viktor Bout sits aboard a Russian plane after an exchange made at Abu Dhabi airport in the Emirates Arab States.
Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, freed in an exchange with Washington for American basketball player Brittney Griner, on Saturday pledged his support for Vladimir Putin and on the offensive in Ukraine.
In an interview with Russian media RT, he confirmed that he always had a portrait of Vladimir Putin in his cell during his imprisonment in the United States, where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being arrested in Thailand in 2008. /p>
I'm proud to be Russian, and our president is Putin, he said. The 55-year-old ex-Soviet army officer also said he fully supported the Kremlin attack in Ukraine.
If I had the opportunity and the necessary skills, I would volunteer [to fight in Ukraine], he said, saying he did not understand why the massive Moscow offensive had not not happened as early as 2014.
He also presented himself again as a businessman who was working legally but who served as an example to force other Russians to agree to deals with Washington, which he says he refused to do.
He also denied selling weapons to the Taliban, as articles in the American press have accused.
“The Taliban had a bounty on my head, so how can you say I collaborated with them? It doesn't make sense.
— Viktor Bout, arms dealer
Finally, he accused the West of encouraging a suicide of civilization with drugs and LGBTQ+.
Born, according to a United Nations report, in 1967 in Dushanbe, capital of the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan, Viktor Bout studied at the x27;Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow before entering the Air Force.
He knew, from 1991 and the fall of the USSR, according to its accusers, to acquire at a low price a quantity of armaments on military bases in the former USSR, then in full chaos, and resell them in several conflict zones, in particular in Africa. His possible links with the Russian services are not known.