Sunak and Starmer condemn Nigel Farage's comment that the West 'provoked' the war in Ukraine

Nigel Farage has been criticised for saying the West 'provoked' war in Ukraine, ITV News' Amy Lewis reports

Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak have condemned Nigel Farage for his claim the West provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Sunak said the Reform UK leader was “completely wrong and only plays into Putin’s hands”.

Labour leader Sir Keir called the remarks “disgraceful” and said anyone standing for Parliament should make clear Russia is the aggressor.

Meanwhile, Mr Farage has insisted he will not apologise for his remarks and said he was not an “apologist or supporter of Putin”.

The row erupted following an interview on BBC's Panorama when Mr Farage was questioned about his opinion of Mr Putin.

He replied: “I said I disliked him as a person, but I admired him as a political operator because he’s managed to take control of running Russia."

Mr Farage, a former member of the European Parliament, also said: “Right, I’ll tell you what you don’t know, I stood up in the European Parliament in 2014 and I said, and I quote, ‘There will be a war in Ukraine’.

“Why did I say that?“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.”

Speaking to reporters during a campaign visit in London, Sir Keir said: “On the question of Farage, his comments were disgraceful.

“Anyone who is standing for Parliament ought to be really clear that Russia is the aggressor, Putin bears responsibility, and that we stand with Ukraine, as we have done from the beginning of this conflict, and Parliament has spoken with one voice on this since the beginning of the conflict.”

Asked by broadcasters about the remarks during an election campaign visit in London, Mr Sunak said: “What he said was completely wrong and only plays into Putin’s hands.”

Mr Sunak added: “This is a man (Mr Putin) who deployed nerve agent on the streets of Britain, who is doing deals with countries like North Korea, and this kind of appeasement is dangerous for Britain’s security, the security of our allies that rely on us, and only emboldens Putin further.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said he did not “share any values” with Mr Farage.

“My message to the British people, we need to support the Ukrainian people,” Sir Ed added.

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Speaking to journalists in Edinburgh, Scottish First Minister John Swinney accused Mr Farage of being a “traitor to the interests of the people on these islands”.

“I think these are some of the most appalling remarks I’ve heard, literally in my life, and they’re of an extraordinary degree of absurdity and danger,” he said.

“Vladimir Putin has voluntarily invaded a sovereign country and nobody provoked him to, nobody was a threat to Vladimir Putin.

“Nigel Farage has confirmed what all of us have suspected of him – that he is a dangerous man.

“And that he is a traitor to the interests of the people of these islands, and the people of Ukraine.”

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