‘West provoked Putin to invade Ukraine’, says Nigel Farage Reform UK leader; criticised

'West provoked Putin to invade Ukraine', says Nigel Farage Reform UK leader; criticised

NEW DELHI: Nigel Farage, the leader of Reform UK, a newly established right-wing party aiming to attract voters from the ruling Conservatives in the upcoming general election on July 4, has faced widespread criticism for suggesting that the West provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.
During a BBC television interview aired on Friday evening, Farage connected the eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union over recent decades to the invasion.He claimed to have warned of a potential war in Ukraine in 2014 while serving as a member of the European Parliament, stating “we provoked this war.” However, it remains unclear whether his warning was issued before or after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in February 2014.
“It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, ‘They’re coming for us again’ and to go to war,” Farage said. “It’s, you know, of course it’s his fault – he’s used what we’ve done as an excuse.”
Critics from various political backgrounds denounced Farage’s statement, with many labeling him as an apologist for Putin. Ben Wallace, the former Conservative defense secretary who has stepped down as a lawmaker, compared Farage to a pub bore who offers simplistic solutions to complex 21st-century problems.
Many Conservatives have refrained from harshly criticizing Farage, recognizing his significant influence in Britain’s decision to leave the EU in 2016, despite not being a member of the UK Parliament. They fear that excessive attacks on Farage might further alienate Conservative voters who sympathize with his strong stance on issues such as immigration and Brexit.
This marks the first general election contested by Reform UK, and the party has experienced a boost in polls since Farage announced his leadership and candidacy for the Clacton seat in southeast England in early June. He is currently favored to win the seat and finally enter Parliament after seven attempts.
John Healey, who is expected to become defense secretary if the left-of-center Labour Party wins the election on July, accused Farage of preferring to “lick Vladimir Putin’s boots” rather than supporting the people of Ukraine.

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