Richard Branson and a number of Russian and Ukrainian business leaders are hoping to set up a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Branson would feel “very irresponsible” if Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and nobody “had spoken out or done anything about it.”. he confessed.
Speaking with the Kyiv Post on August 20 in a Skype interview from London, Branson said he would tell the Kremlin leader: “President Putin, please don’t turn the clock back. We remember when the Berlin Wall fell and how wonderful both Russians and the rest of the world felt about it…Let’s resolve the issues diplomatically and not militarily. Let’s trade together, let’s marry, let’s go on holidays with each other. Let’s work together to resolve conflicts in the world.”
Branson, whose Virgin Group is a leading international investor with 50,000 employees, 300 companies and $24 billion in revenues, is involved in the telephone, travel, financial services, leisure, music, vacation and health & wellness sectors, among others.
Victor Pinchuk, founder of EastOne Group; Maxim Ivanov, founder of Foodline Group; Dennis Ludkovsky, CEO of Svyaznoy Group; Arkady Novikov, founder of Novikov Group; Sergey Petrov, founder of ROLF Group; Igor Yurgens, president of the All-Russian Insurance Association; Jan Koum, co-founder ant CEO of WhatsApp; Max Levchin, co-founder of Paypal; Igor Mazepa, CEO of Concorde Capital; and Yevgeniy Utkin, chairman and president, KMCORE are among the Ukrainian and Russian businesspeople who have signed on to Branson’s peace initiative.
Despite Putin’s seeming popularity in Russia, Branson said that “we want Putin to know the vast majority of businesspeople in Russia” are against the conflict.