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Ukrainian Tycoon Kolomoisky’s Change of Heart Over Russia, in Quotes

Ihor Kolomoisky Konstantin Sazonchik / TASS

Ukraine should give up on the West and go back into Russia’s fold, influential Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky said in an interview with The New York Times Wednesday.

Kolomoisky’s business ties to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have been under heavy scrutiny since the start of the former comedian’s election campaign this year. Both men have rejected suggestions that Kolomoisky has behind-the-scenes influence over Zelenskiy. 

The Moscow Times picked out quotes from Kolomoisky’s emotional and profanity-laced interview that The New York Times says marks a “remarkable change of heart” for Russia’s former opponent.

On Russia:

— “They’re stronger anyway. We have to improve our relations.” ... “What’s the fastest way to resolve issues and restore the relationship? Only money.”

— “We’ll take $100 billion from the Russians. I think they’d love to give it to us today.”

— “Give it five, 10 years, and the blood will be forgotten.” 

— “I’m describing, objectively, what I’m seeing and where things are heading.”

On disappointment with the West:

— “You all won’t take us [into NATO and the European Union].” 

— “There’s no use in wasting time on empty talk. Whereas Russia would love to bring us into a new Warsaw Pact.”

— “[The United States uses Ukraine to wage] War against Russia ... to the last Ukrainian.”

— “People want peace, a good life, they don’t want to be at war. And you [the U.S.] are forcing us to be at war, and not even giving us the money for it.”

On the future U.S. administration’s possible retaliation to the Trump-Ukraine scandal:

— “If they get smart with us, we’ll go to Russia.” 

— “Russian tanks will be stationed near Krakow and Warsaw.” ... “Your NATO will be soiling its pants and buying Pampers.”

On self-perception:

— “If I put on glasses and look at myself like the whole rest of the world, I see myself as a monster, as a puppet master, as the master of Zelenskiy, someone making apocalyptic plans.” 

— “I can start making this real.”

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