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Former F1 CEO Says He Would ‘Take a Bullet’ for ‘First-Class’ Putin

Bernie Ecclestone, Vladimir Putin at 2016 Russian Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone and Vladimir Putin at 2016 Russian Grand Prix

Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview Thursday that he would “take a bullet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, describing him as “a first-class person.” 

“What he’s doing [in Ukraine] is something that he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia,” Ecclestone said on Good Morning Britain. “Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of businesspeople, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you make the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.” 

The 91-year-old proceeded to criticize Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying the leader could have done more to avoid the war with Russia. 

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“I think if he’d thought about things, he would definitely have made a big enough effort to speak to Putin, who is a sensible person, and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it,” Ecclestone said.

Nearly five months ago, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the conflict began. The United Nations released an update on June 27, which included the rising death toll. More than 4,000 civilians have been killed, nearly 6,000 have been injured and millions have been displaced since the war started in February.  

When Ecclestone was questioned about how the war has killed thousands, he responded, “It wasn’t intentional.”

Formula One said in a statement, “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to position of the modern values of our sport.”