‘I want to see Putin hanged’, says Gazprom executive who fled Russia

‘Putin has to be put on trial and hanged. But only in accordance with the law’

Gazprom executive who fled Russia explains what he thinks will stop Putin
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Russian gas executive Igor Volobuyev, who fled the country days after Moscow invaded its neighbour and emerged in Kyiv, has asked for Vladimir Putin to be hanged for his actions for launching a military assault in Ukraine.

“[Mr] Putin has to be put on trial and hanged. But only in accordance with the law,” the Gazprom vice-president told The Telegraph.

He watched the “special military operation”, as Mr Putin has termed it, unfold on his phone and received SOS calls from people who said that they needed to be saved from Russian troops who were unleashing an assault in the besieged country.

“I was glued to my phone. I felt like I was sitting in a cosy cinema watching a horror film,” Mr Volobuyev said, according to the report.

“It’s such a miserable feeling when people call you and say: ‘Russians are killing us. You work in Gazprombank. You’re an important guy. Can you do something to stop this?’”

The Gazprom top official appeared in Kyiv last week stating that he had fled Russia to fight alongside Ukrainian soldiers in a dramatic sudden exit.

“I couldn’t watch from the sidelines what Russia was doing to my homeland,” Mr Volobuev, who was born in the northeastern Ukrainian town of Okhtyrka, said.

“The Russians were killing my father, my acquaintances and close friends. My father lived in a cold basement for a month. People I had known since childhood told me they were ashamed of me,” Mr Volobuyev said.

From his childhood friends, he kept receiving videos of shells dropping on his Ukrainian hometown in Okhtyrka.

He had spent two decades at Gazprom and rose to become Russia’s third-largest bank Gazprombank’s vice-president but he felt guilty as the sequence of invasion intensified in his homeland.

“For eight years I was in this internal turmoil: I didn’t just work in Russia, but I worked for Gazprom. I worked for the Russian state,” he said, according to the report.

He mulled over wanting to move to Ukraine but the family obligations tied him to his life in Russia and the dilemma only grew on 24 February as troops sent from Moscow started rolling their tanks inside the former Soviet territory.

“I couldn’t live like this much longer: I had to choose between my family and my motherland, and I chose my motherland,” Mr Volobuyev said.

Within seconds, he drove to the Russia-Ukraine frontier, parked his BMW there for an infinite period  and fled to his hometown on foot, setting out for the next 30 miles amid war.

His childhood friends warned him. He could be shot by Ukrainian border guards or a Russian drone could end his life.

Mr Volobuyev then bought a ticket to Riga, Latvia, via Istanbul and went to the airport with just one carry-on bag.

He carried as much cash as he could to exit the country’s borders — £8,000.

What remains discreet is his methods to sneak into Ukraine, he said, citing security concerns.

He does add that leaving Russia was easy but making it to Ukraine was as hard as flying to the moon.

He is among hundreds of Russia’ key businessmen along with monarchs who faced the heat of financial losses after western nations slapped a slew of sanctions on the Kremlin.

Now, his savings from accounts in Gazprombank stand at zero because not only did he lose access to his Visa, he said his MasterCard is also just a piece of plastic after the company’s operations were suspended in Russia.

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