Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he would “take a bullet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin and described him as “a first-class person”.
The 91-year-old said the war in Ukraine was not “intentional” and could have been avoided by actions taken by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Ecclestone said Mr Zelensky should have spoken to Mr Putin, who he said is a “sensible” man.
Mr Ecclestone was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain if he still regards Mr Putin as a friend, and he replied: “I’d still take a bullet for him. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it does I’d still take a bullet, because he’s a first-class person.
“What he’s doing is something that he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.
“Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, we make mistakes from time to time. When you’ve made the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.
“I think if it had been conducted properly, I mean the other person in Ukraine (Mr Zelensky), I mean, his profession, I understand, he used to be a comedian.
“I think he seems as if he wants to continue that profession, because I think if he’d have thought about things, he would have definitely made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”
Presenter Kate Garraway said to Mr Ecclestone: “So just to understand you clearly, you think that President Zelensky should have done more to avert this war and it could have been avoided by Zelensky’s actions, not by a change in Putin’s actions?”
Mr Ecclestone replied: “Absolutely.”