- A former Russian politician, who was ousted in 2016, is fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
- Ilya Ponomarev told CNN on Wednesday that he believes Putin’s days in power are numbered.
- He called Putin a “dictator” and said he is confident Ukrainian forces “will prevail.”
A former Russian lawmaker fighting for Ukraine told CNN on Wednesday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s days are numbered because “no dictator can survive after losing the war.”
Ilya Ponomarev has been living in Kyiv, Ukraine, since 2016 after he was ousted by the Russian parliament. After the Russian invasion on February 24, the former politician took up arms and joined the Ukrainian forces.
Speaking from Kyiv, Ponomarev told CNN that he decided to fight alongside Ukrainian troops because he wanted “to defend humanity and Europe.” It is unclear exactly what exactly his role in the forces is.
“No dictator can survive after losing the war,” Ponomarev said about Putin. “[Putin] has no way how he can win the war. “
“Putin will try to claim a certain victory – an imaginary victory – on May 9. I am absolutely certain about this, but the reality is that he is losing the war,” he added. “I think that the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian people will not stop before Ukrainian territory will be free”
You can watch the full interview here:
—CNN (@CNN) April 13, 2022
May 9, otherwise known as Victory Day, is a major holiday in Russia that commemorates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and is usually marked with a huge military parade in front of the Kremlin.
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said last month that Russian troops are being told the war must end on May 9.
Western officials believe Putin will want to have control of the Donbas and other eastern regions of Ukraine by that date, according to CNN.
Ponomarev, who has opposed Putin in the past, was a member of the Russian parliament from 2007 to 2016, Reuters reported. In 2014, he became the only member of parliament to vote against annexing Crimea, as per Reuters.
He was impeached for not performing his duties in 2016 and moved to Kyiv, according to the Russian news agency TAAS.