After formerly discovering “corruption” in Russia as the country’s ex-largest foreign investor, Hermitage Capital’s CEO Bill Browder warned the country’s strengthening relationship with China could “entirely” change the Russia-Ukraine war dynamics.
“This announcement that Secretary of State Blinken made a few days ago at the Munich Security Conference, if it’s true, is extremely disturbing,” Browder told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria” Wednesday.
“He announced that the U.S. has intelligence that China is intending to supply lethal weapons to Russia in the war on Ukraine,” he continued. “And if that were to happen, that could change the dynamics of the war entirely.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken first revealed the U.S.’s suspicions following his meeting with Beijing’s top diplomat Saturday, after which he expressed concern “that China’s considering providing lethal support to Russia in its aggression against Ukraine.”
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The U.S. and its NATO allies have repeatedly warned that any nation, including China, will see swift and severe economic sanctions if they are found aiding Russia’s war effort.
China has toed the line when it comes to the war in Ukraine, refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion but also failing to provide arms to its chief international partner.
“If China enters the game, gives them weapons, then things could be very different, very dangerous and very bad,” Browder said. “We will know if China supplies weapons. We’ll see them on the ground in Ukraine. And if they do, they should expect a very harsh economic response because America cannot allow China to become involved in this war.”
Despite America’s latest warning about China’s potential military aid for Russia, one Chinese foreign minister accused the U.S. of “fanning the flames” of the war.
“The U.S. should seriously reflect on what it has done, stop fanning the flames or profiting from it, and stay truly committed to promoting peace talks as China has been doing,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement.
Browder, who described himself as a “canary in the coal mine,” became Russia’s leading investor by being a shareholder activist who exposed corruption, and worked with Congress to get the Magnitsky Act passed, preventing foreigners who violate human rights from entering the U.S.
The Magnitsky Act is named after Browder’s Russian accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison under suspicious circumstances. From that moment on, the CEO said Wednesday, Putin has “hated” him, allegedly attempting to arrest, kidnap and kill Browder.
After seeing “what Putin was all about” at least a decade before the rest of the world, Browder claimed, the political activist confirmed that the friendship between Russia and China “knows no bounds.” He further called out the Russian government for being “human rights violators and kleptocrats.”
“I’ve been screaming from the rooftops that this guy is a murderer, he’s a criminal, he needs to be contained and needs to be stopped,” Browder said. “For the most part, people didn’t want to hear it because they wanted to continue doing business with Russia. And now everybody has seen on the television every day that this guy is a terrible mass murderer who’s doing terrible things, and he really needs to be contained.”
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The Putin critic further cautioned that Russian forces are “stuck in a corner” as Ukraine largely holds off their advances, leaving Putin no other option than “to escalate” the war.
“He’s lost 140,000 troops, half of his tanks, so he’s got to come up with something to make himself look invincible, powerful, sadistic, to make us all reassess the sort of pathetic view that we now have of him as a weak warrior,” Browder said.
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America’s response to the possible threat should include fulfilling Ukraine’s request for F-16 fighter jets and seizing $350 billion of frozen Russian assets currently in U.S. custody, according to the activist.
“These are Russian assets, Russian central bank assets, and that money should be diverted, seized and sent to Ukraine so they could then support themselves both militarily and financially. The sanctions are also very important, but all of these things need to be done in unison,” he urged.
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Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.