BBC Newsnight: Putin war crime investigation ‘could move very quickly’, warns Gordon Brown

Zakharova challenges UK to provide evidence for ‘Russia war crimes’

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Speaking on BBC Newsnight, the former British Prime Minister who served from 2007 until 2010, spoke on the likelihood of Putin facing sanctions. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has called for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to investigate and prosecute Russia for war crimes during a speech before the United Nations Security Council.

The International Criminal Court has already begun investigating possible war crimes as images have emerged of bodies of Ukrainian civilians scattering the streets.

Some have been found with their hands or legs bound together with bullet holes to the head or chest in execution-style killings.

Russia have denied the atrocities in Ukraine and have even suggested that it is Ukraine that have committed genocide.

Mr Brown, who negotiated with Russia over the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 from chemical weapons, said that the investigation into war crimes “could move very quickly”.

He continued: “You could have an indictment within a few months, and you could be putting out an arrest warrant, not just for Putin but for a lot of his inner circle who have been collaborating with him in these deeds.”

When questioned on the likelihood of bringing Putin to court after finding him guilty of such crimes, the former Prime Minister said, “The first thing Putin understands is only this, strength.”

He continued: “If the only thing he understands is strength, and if he exploits weakness, then we have got to be very clear he has committed crimes, he is liable to punishment.

“Whether you can arrest him or not depends on his movements and of course that is something that would be monitored over the next few months and few years, but we know he’s left the country on a number of occasions.”

Mr Brown concluded: “We know he’s got this huge yacht that he uses, we know it is possible at some point not just to arrest him, but to arrest some of his associates.”

President Putin “never understands weakness” and the former Prime Minister added that he had to show strength against Russia after the assassination of Litvinenko to protect others who were in danger.

Following President Zelensky’s speech, Boris Johnson took to Twitter to vow that the UK “will not rest until justice is done”.

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The Prime Minister said: “The discovery of more mass graves outside Kyiv is sickening. The UK will not stand by whilst this indiscriminate and unforgivable slaughter takes place.

“We are working to ensure those responsible are held to account. We will not rest until justice is done.”

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