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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

“It only emboldens Putin.” A wave of criticism following the politician's words

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Nigel Farage, leader of the right-wing populist Reform UK party, faced a wave of criticism after his Friday comments about Russia and Vladimir Putin. They were condemned by, among others, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition leader Keir Starmer.

Farage was asked by the BBC on Friday about some of his controversial past statements, including a social media post from February 2022 in which he said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “was a consequence of EU and NATO expansion.”

Farage replied that he had argued since the 1990s that the “continuous eastward expansion” of NATO and the EU gave Putin “a reason to tell the Russians that 'they will come after us again and start a war'.” – We provoked this war. Of course, it is his (Putin's) fault, he added. He was also asked about his statement from 2014, when he mentioned the Russian president as the politician he most admired. “I said I didn't like him as a person, but I admired him as a politician because he managed to master the running of Russia,” he explained.


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Wave of criticism after Farage's words

Farage's words were criticized on Saturday by the leaders of the other main political parties. – What he said was completely wrong and works to Putin's advantage. This is a man who used chemical weapons on the streets of Britain, who makes deals with countries like North Korea. This type of concession is dangerous to the security of the UK, the security of our allies who rely on us, and only emboldens Putin, said Prime Minister Sunak. The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, called Farage's words “disgraceful”. – It has always been clear to me that Putin bears sole responsibility for Russian aggression in Ukraine, and we have always sided with Ukraine. (…) Anyone who wants to run for a seat in our parliament should make it clear that, whether it is Russian aggression on the battlefield or on the Internet, we oppose this aggression. This means standing on the side of Ukraine, but also supporting our freedom, he emphasized.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said “it is Putin and Russia who are to blame, and no one else.” – I strongly support the efforts the UK has made to help Ukraine. “I wish we did more and I think the British people would be shocked if we did anything else,” he said.

Farage's party can count on several seats

Reform UK has the support of 15-20 percent in recent polls, thanks to which it is approaching and sometimes even overtaking the Conservative Party, which is usually in second place. However, under the current majority system, in the elections to the House of Commons scheduled for July 4, the party can count on at most a few seats.

Main photo source: TOLGA AKMEN/EPA/PAP

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