Bernie and Putin’s friendship reportedly blossomed after the pair were introduced at the Russian Grand Prix in 2014.
“I’d still take a bullet for him,” Bernie said of the Russian president after Kate asked if he still regarded him as a friend.
“I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it did I’d still take a bullet for him.
“He’s a first-class person. What he’s doing is something he believed is the right thing he was doing for Russia. Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of business people, like me, we make mistakes from time to time.”
The 91-year-old then discussed the Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“I think if he’d thought about things, he would have made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and probably would have done something about it,” he said.
A clearly shocked Ben then interrupted, telling the businessman “you can’t say that”, before reminding him that Putin started the war in Ukraine which has led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people.
“It wasn’t intentional,’ Bernie replied. “Look at the number of times America has moved into different countries that has nothing to do with America… they like wars because they sell a lot of armour so it’s good for them.”
Shocked viewers quickly took to Twitter to share their disbelief over Bernie’s comments…
This isn’t the first time Bernie has voiced his support of Putin. Earlier this year, he defended the Russian leader again, describing him as “very straightforward and honourable” during an interview on Times Radio.
And in 2019, Bernie told The Times that he’d like to see Putin “running Europe”.
“He’s a good guy” he said. “He’s never done anything that isn’t doing good things for people.”
In the same interview, Bernie also excused Nelson Piquet’s racist slur against Lewis Hamilton.
“I’ve known Nelson for an awful long time,” he said. “I was with him a couple of weeks ago. It’s not the sort of thing Nelson would say meaning something bad.
“I’m surprised Lewis hasn’t just brushed it aside. Or, better than that, replied. But he’s now come out and Nelson has apologised.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.