By Aleksandra Michalska and Julia Harte
(Reuters) – Russian human rights activist and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov on Thursday urged world powers to adopt a harsher military and economic strategy against Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with Reuters, Kasparov called on Western countries to recall their ambassadors from Moscow, eject Russia from the global police agency Interpol, and impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“Russia should be thrown back into the Stone Age to make sure that the oil and gas industry and any other sensitive industries that are vital for survival of the regime cannot function without Western technological support,” Kasparov said.
Sanctions so far imposed by the United States and other NATO countries have isolated Russia to an unprecedented extent for an economy of such size. Hundreds of Russian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians have been killed since Russian troops crossed the border on Feb. 24, and more than 1 million refugees have fled, according to the United Nations.
Kasparov, a former chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation who played an active role in the anti-Kremlin opposition protest movement when he lived in Moscow, told Reuters there could be no peace in the region until Putin is removed from power.
“The list of what Putin would ‘never do’ has grown so long,” he said. “He has committed war crimes beyond imagination.”
Kasparov also took aim at U.S. President Joe Biden for not taking more aggressive action at Putin earlier: “I hope that Americans will revise their strategy and will show strength.”
Russia and Ukraine have agreed on the need to establish humanitarian corridors and a possible ceasefire around them for Ukrainian civilians fleeing the war, negotiators for both sides said following talks on Thursday. A first round of talks held in Belarus on Monday did not yield any progress.
(Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska, Writing by Julia Harte; editing by Grant McCool)