Russian Putin critic in Kyiv vows ‘I will not be silenced’ on Victory Day

London-based Putin critic Andrey Sidelnikov has travelled to Kyiv where he is gathering evidence of war crimes and supporting his Ukrainian friends (Picture: Andrey Sidelnikov)

A Russian dissident has travelled from to Kyiv where he vowed ‘I will not be silenced’ as he seeks justice for .

spoke on ’s drum-beating Victory Day to say that Vladimir Putin had failed in his attempt to hold a military parade in the capital and should be put on trial for war crimes.

The Kremlin critic arrived in Ukraine on Thursday after a 36-hour journey from the UK, where he has been granted political asylum from a regime that he says has Ki**ed others close to him.

The Londoner has travelled at considerable personal risk but wants to gather evidence to help bring the Russian president to justice, and plans to visit and Irpin, which have become synonymous with some of the worst human rights abuses of the war.

He said: ‘I’m a friend of Ukraine, I spent half a year before the war in Kyiv and I came with humanitarian aid to help people survive.

‘My friends are here so I can’t be somewhere else. Putin might have a parade in Red Square but he wanted one in the centre of Kyiv, and he will not do it at all.

‘He must be in the international criminal court because he is a war criminal.

‘And all of the people who have been supporting Putin for 22 years are criminals too. All of my friends here in Kyiv, in Ukraine and around the world know that Putin will not win this war.’

Andrey Sidelnikov has said he is in fear for his life from Moscow’s agents but has nevertheless travelled to Ukraine (Picture: Andrey Sidelnikov)

Mr Sidelnikov, 46, wants Russia to be proscribed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the UK government and has called for tighter and wider sanctions to be placed on Putin’s associates and supporters in the country.

His activities as a vocal opponent of Putin include meeting Mr Litvinenko in London two days before the former Russian intelligence officer was poisoned in November 2006. According to a public inquiry, the poisoning was carried out by Kremlin agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, probably on the Russian president’s orders.

The leader tried to flex his military muscle today, with Red Square becoming the centre of the massed parade celebrating the Soviet Union’s role in defeating the Nazis during World War Two.

Mr Sidelnikov reacted from Kyiv, where air raid sirens rang out repeatedly on Sunday following his arrival on a night train from Poland four days ago.

Asked if he was concerned he might be targeted by Russian agents on foreign soil or be caught up in air strikes, he replied: ‘Of course I am worried about my safety. They want me to shut up, but I will not be silenced, I will do everything I can to tell the truth about Putin’s war and to help Ukraine and I will do everything I can to tell a commission about Putin’s regime.

‘I plan to travel to Bucha and Irpin because I need to speak with the people who were there and can tell the real story and take pictures and videos so I can present my own information. It is important for me to see for myself, for my opinion, my work and my vision, I must see for myself.’

Andrey Sidelnikov said Putin wanted Victory Day celebrations in Kyiv but the capital is still free and Russia will not win the war (Picture: Andrey Sidelnikov)
Tank barriers in Kyiv where Andrey Sidelnikov has travelled to continue his outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin (PIcture: Andrey Sidelnikov)

Mr Sidelnikov echoed comments by Ukrainian President who has likened Russia’s unprovoked invasion and litany of alleged to the horrors of Nazism.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘All through my life it has been said that what happened in the Second World War should never happen again. But it has happened under Putin’s regime.

‘All the world must fight Putin’s fascist Russia, not only to stop the war but to make sure this is not repeated in future centuries and such a regime can never be created again.’

Mr Sidelnikov says he and his colleagues in the Speak Up! movement are compiling a list of Russians in the UK who should be subject to sanctions, which they plan to hand to the government.

He has previously sent a letter to Boris Johnson, calling on the UK to freeze the assets of thousands of people connected with Putin’s administration and financial interests.

Vladimir Putin walks in Red Square after a military parade on Victory Day (Picture: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)
Russian military vehicles during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow (Picture: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The activist said: ‘Our message is that Russia is a sponsor of terrorism and we want to make changes in British law for people who are supporting Putin’s criminal regime and his fascist Russia. There are a lot of supporters with British citizenship which should be cancelled.

‘I don’t understand how these people are still living in the country.

‘The whole world needs to close the border with Putin’s regime and after this happens it will fall down.’

Mr Sidelnikov that Putin would order an invasion but not make it to the ‘gates of Kyiv’.

His campaign group began the project, named Revenge, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. The movement also wants wider restrictions on the movement of Putin’s supporters and the end of the UK’s diplomatic relations with Russia.

A destroyed Russian tank in Irpin, a town near Kyiv (Picture: Laurel Chor/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

On Sunday, the UK announced a new package of sanctions on Russia and Belarus targeting £1.7 billion of trade in a move aimed at destabilising Moscow’s war machine. The third wave of such measures by the UK brings the total value of products subjected to full or partial import and export sanctions since the invasion began to £4 billion.

Putin showed no sign of deconflicting as Russian troops and military hardware went on show in Red Square on the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Adolf Hitler’s Nazis.

In a speech, with Ukraine and drew parallels between the Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops and his forces’ action in the neighbouring country.

Putin said: ‘Nato is actively pursuing our territory. That is absolutely unacceptable to us. We are talking about neo-Nazis in Ukraine that the US and its partners are working with.

‘Ukraine is receiving the most modern weaponry from Nato. The decision for this special military operation was forced and was the only correct decision.’

Evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, including rape, the summary execution of civilians and deportations, continues to mount on a daily basis.

In Bucha and neighbouring areas, which lie to the north of Kyiv, hundreds of bodies of civilians were found last month when Russian forces and their proxies pulled back after failing to seize the capital.

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘So let’s call out the absurdity of Russian generals – resplendent in their manicured parade uniforms and weighed down by their many medals – for being utterly complicit in Putin’s hijacking of their forebears’ proud history of defending against a ruthless invasion; of repelling fascism; of sacrificing themselves for a higher purpose.

‘Instead now, they are the ones inflicting needless suffering in the service of lowly gangsterism.’

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