Nigel Farage hits back at 'hypocrisy' of Boris Johnson over Ukraine comments

24 June 2024, 11:25 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 15:34

Nigel Farage has hit back at Boris Johnson after the former prime minister labelled him "morally repugnant" over comments he made about the war in Ukraine.

The Reform UK leader accused Mr Johnson of "hypocrisy" as he brandished a copy of a newspaper front page from 2016 that read: "Boris blames EU for war in Ukraine".

Appearing on top of a campaign bus in Maidstone, Kent, Mr Farage pointed out that the former London mayor once blamed Russia's invasion of Crimea in 2014 on policies in Brussels.

The Reform leader was speaking after comments he made last week - when he claimed the West and NATO "provoked" the Ukraine conflict that began more than two years ago - generated a strong backlash.

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Mr Farage told the BBC that he had been saying since the fall of the Berlin Wall there would be a war in Ukraine due to the "ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union".

He said those actions had given Vladimir Putin a reason to tell the Russian people "they're coming for us again" and go to war.

Mr Farage was also challenged in the interview about his previous comments about the Russian president, whom he said he "admired" as a political operator - although he said the war was "of course" Mr Putin's "fault".

Following the interview, Mr Johnson, who approved hundreds of millions of pounds' worth of financial assistance to Ukraine while he was prime minister, accused Mr Farage of "parroting Putin's lies".

Mr Johnson was responding to an article Mr Farage wrote in The Telegraph in which he stuck to the comments he made in the BBC interview.

Sharing the article on X, Mr Johnson wrote: "This is nauseating ahistorical drivel and more Kremlin propaganda. Nobody provoked Putin. Nobody 'poked the bear with a stick'.

"The people of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly in 1991 to be a sovereign and independent country. They were perfectly entitled to seek both NATO and EU membership.

"There is only one person responsible for Russian aggression against Ukraine - both in 2014 and 2022 - and that is Putin. To try to spread the blame is morally repugnant and parroting Putin's lies."

Mr Farage told supporters in Kent: "Well, perhaps it's Boris Johnson that's morally repugnant and not me, I don't know. But can you see the sheer level of hypocrisy? Can you see the nonsense of all of this?"

He said Mr Johnson would go down as the "worst prime minister of modern times", who betrayed an "80 seat majority" and voters who supported Brexit.

Mr Farage once again stuck by his belief that the West had provoked the war in Ukraine, saying he had warned about such an outcome back in 2014.

"I was alone, I was the only person in 2014 who said there will be a war in Ukraine," he said. "I can't take those words away and nor would I want to."

"The fact I was more far-sighted than the rest of our political leaders? It's not something that I'm going to apologise for."