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Vladimir Putin’s humiliating treatment of Gordon Brown in ‘stacked heels’

Gordon Brown has told how Vladimir Putin threatened him 16 years ago – as he towered over him wearing stacked heels’.

From his raised position the 5ft 7ins Russian president read out details of the ex-PM’s private life from a series of index cards as though he wanted to prove that "he knew more about me than I knew about myself".

The extraordinary showdown happened during a 2006 visit to the Kremlin in Moscow while Brown – who is 3ins taller than the Russian ruler – was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The former Prime Minister said the West had failed to stand up to Putin for years before his Ukraine invasion.

Recalling his clash with the despot Brown, 71, said: "I was under no illusions about what Putin was like. I was put in a very low seat so that I was looking up at him.

"He’s certainly a relatively small man and he wears these stacked heels. Anyway, that day he took out these index cards, and proceeded to read out all this information he had about me, as though he wanted to prove that he knew more about me than I knew about myself.

"So when people say that Putin’s changed and is only now threatening I can tell you that he was threatening me even then.’’

Brown, who was Chancellor under Tony Blair for a decade from 1997 then PM himself for three years, believes Putin, 69, only responds to "an uncompromising and unyielding show of strength".

"The only thing Putin understands is strength,’’ he said. "Weakness he will exploit. He’s opportunistic to the nth degree.’’

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He warned the West’s inaction over the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea – which took place when David Cameron was PM – allowed Putin to think he might get away with further incursions’.

Brown told BBC's Sunday Morning he applauded NATO unity over Ukraine but said there was a problem with coordinating sanctions where some countries are not prepared to do it’.

"What we've also seen is global disunity – 82 countries refuse to support the action against Russia for its breach of human liberties, 150 countries around the world are not imposing sanctions, so we have global disunity,’’ he said.

"One of the reasons is we have not shown people that globalisation, which is led by the West, is working to reduce poverty, raise living standards and of course, deal with climate change in the poorer countries and really have to honour our promises.

"Two billion people remain unvaccinated despite the fact we have 24b vaccines being produced this year. And of course climate change promises to Africa have not been met.’’

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