Farage defends Ukraine war comments after criticism from Sink and Starmer

Nigel Farage has defended his claim that the West instigated Russia's invasion of Ukraine, after condemnation from across the political spectrum.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Reform UK leader said he had never been “an apologist or a supporter. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” but that “if you poke a Russian bear with a stick, don't be surprised if it hits back”.

In an interview with the BBC's Panorama, Mr Farage said the war was “certainly” Mr Putin's fault but that the expansion of the EU and NATO gave him a reason to tell the Russian people “they're coming for us again”. Are coming”.

Responding to the interview, Prime Minister Rishi Singh said the comment was “totally untrue and only in Putin's hands”, accusing Mr Farage of “complacency” that was “dangerous to Britain's security”.

  • the author, Brian Wheeler
  • the role, Political reporter

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer called the comments “disgraceful”, while Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey called Mr Farage “an apologist for Putin”. The SNP said it was “an insult to all Ukrainians who have suffered.”

In his Telegraph piece, Mr Farage wrote: “Don't blame me for telling the truth about Putin's war in Ukraine,” adding that he wanted to “set the record straight”.

“[The] The attack on Ukraine was immoral, provocative and indefensible. As a champion of national sovereignty, I believe that Putin's attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine was completely wrong.

“Nobody can accuse me of complacency. I have never tried to justify Putin's attack in any way and I don't now.

“But that doesn't change the fact that I saw it coming a decade ago, warned it was coming and I'm one of the few political figures who has been consistently vocal about Russia's war in Ukraine. But are correct and honest.

“As I've made clear on many occasions since, if you poke a Russian bear with a stick, don't be surprised if it hits back. Obviously not good foreign policy.”

'Totally wrong'

Speaking earlier, Mr Sink said Mr Farage's comments to the BBC were “completely false and only play into Putin's hands”.

He added: “This is a man. [Mr Putin] who put nerve agents on the streets of Britain, who are doing deals with countries like North Korea, and that kind of complacency is dangerous to the security of Britain, the security of our allies who depend on us, and just Give Putin more encouragement.”

Sir Keir, meanwhile, said Mr Putin “bears full responsibility” for the attack on Ukraine and that “anyone who wants to be a representative in our parliament should be really clear… that we stand against this aggression.” “.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “When I walk around the cities, towns and villages of our country, British people wave the Ukrainian flag as a sign of solidarity and hope for their future.

“Nigel Farage has proved he's on Putin's side, not independence.”

The SNP's Brendan O'Hara told The National: “By defending the indefensible, Farage has shown once again how out of touch his views are with Scottish voters.”

In his Panorama interview, former UKIP and Brexit Party leader Nick Robinson was asked about his past comments about Mr Putin.

“I said I dislike him as a person, but I admire him as a political operator because he's been able to take control of running Russia,” he replied.

He said it had been “obvious” to him for many years that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving the man reason to tell his Russian people 'they're coming for us again' and Go to war”.

video caption, Nigel Farage: We fueled the war in Ukraine.

Pressing further, he added: “We instigated this war. It's, you know, of course his fault – he used what we did as an excuse.”

After the interview aired on Friday, Mr Farage, a former member of the European Parliament, said on X that he was “one of the few figures who has been consistent and honest about the war with Russia”.

With the new statement, he reposted a speech to the European Parliament from 2014 in which he called on the West to “stop playing war games with Putin.”

John Healy, Labour's shadow defense secretary, said the remarks made the Reform UK leader “unfit to hold any political office in our country, let alone lead a serious party in parliament”.

Ukraine's presidency has told the BBC it will not issue an official statement on Mr Farage's comments.

But a source in the presidential office warned of the “virus of Putinism and the rise of war propaganda”, adding: “The task of civilized humanity is to fight this virus.”

Reform has been gaining ground on the Conservatives in UK opinion polls since Mr Farage announced he was returning to frontline politics as party leader shortly after the general election campaign began.

He has said he aims to replace the Conservatives as the official opposition to Labour, which he says is certain to win power on July 4, even though polls show the party is only a handful in this election. Can win full seats.

Additional reporting by Christy Cooney

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