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Jeremy Corbyn has criticized the UK’s decision to send military aid to Ukraine, accusing the West of “prolonging and exaggerating” the Russian war.
The ex-Labour leader, who infamously refused to blame Russia for the Salisbury poisoning in 2018, said leaders should instead force a peace deal between the pair and turn to the African Union and the Arab League, including Syria. should turn to mediation.
He also bemoaned the fact that ‘Ukrainians are dying… and Russian soldiers are dying’ in an interview with a pro-Assad TV channel, while condemning NATO’s expansion for causing ‘more tension and more stress’.
Jeremy Corbyn told a pro-Assad TV station in the Middle East that Western weapons sent to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia ‘extended’ the war
Corbyn said leaders should focus on enforcing a peace deal between Kiev and Moscow, despite polls showing a majority of Ukrainians don’t want one (Ukrainian troops with a US howitzer)
Anti-NATO Corbyn’s soft touch on Putin
“As far as Ukraine is concerned, I would not condone Russian behavior or expansion. But it has not gone unnoticed. [T]there are big questions about the intentions of the West in Ukraine.’ morning star2014
When asked whether he supports NATO, Corbyn said: “I would like to see a world where we eventually dissolve all military alliances.” Times Radio2022
Refusing to point the finger at Putin for the Salisbury poisonings, he said: ‘If we want to make such a very, very clear claim, we have to have absolute proof to do it. You must have irrefutable evidence or you will diminish your ability to criticize other people.’ Andrew Marr Show2018
“Eventually NATO expanded into a global role, including its activities in Afghanistan and, of course, its involvement in the Balkan war, and that has not always been a good thing.” RFE/RL2022
NATO is an ‘engine for the supply of oil to the oil companies’ – it ‘must give up, go home and go’. Speech2014
Western alliance must focus on ‘reducing tensions in Europe and beyond’ and ‘de-escalating conflict with Russia’ [for] a broader perspective on the most serious threats to our common security’. Manifest launch2019
A recent poll showed that 61 percent of Ukrainians oppose ending the war until all Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea, are back under their control.
There is also broad consensus among experts and analysts that an agreement now would be beneficial to Moscow, allowing Putin to “freeze” the war while rearming and strengthening it before restarting it at a time of his choosing — as he did in 2014.
But speaking to Al Mayadeen, a pro-Assad TV station based in Lebanon — which is controlled by the Iran-backed proxy group Hezbollah — Corbyn claimed the opposite.
He said: ‘What I find disappointing is that almost none of the world leaders use the word ‘peace’, they always use the language of more war and more bellicose war
“Ukrainians are dying and Ukrainians have gone into exile, thousands upon thousands. And Russian soldiers die, young Russian soldiers in conscription die… That’s why more, much more, must be devoted to peace.’
Corbyn did say he “disagreed” with the Russian invasion, but then echoed a Kremlin talk by adding that arming Ukraine will “prolong and exaggerate” the war.
Meanwhile, he praised UN chief Antonio Guterres for his trip to Moscow to meet Putin, and urged the global body to play a pioneering role in negotiating peace.
If the UN can’t help, Corbyn suggested, then the African Union or the Arab League — including Syria — should mediate because they “somehow have no direct economic interest.”
Russia even has arms trade agreements with dozens of African countries from which it also imports natural resources.
Moscow also has troops and paramilitaries stationed in the Middle East.
Corbyn praised UN chief Antonio Guterres for going to Russia to talk to Putin, saying if he can’t bring about peace, the African Union or the Arab League should be asked to do so.
A Ukrainian boy rides his scooter past a blown-out building in the Sumy region, which was destroyed by Russian forces in the early days of the war
Vladimir Putin with Security Council Vice-President Dmitry Medvedev, who recently said Russia will only accept peace ‘on our terms’
Ending the war would also see Russian gas flow back into Europe, Corbyn added, suggesting Germany “can’t survive” without it.
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defense selection committee and former defense secretary, told The Telegraph: “[Corbyn] once again illustrates why he would have been such an inappropriate prime minister for the nation.
“He doesn’t understand that the geopolitical consequences of supporting democracy mean the use of hard power at times.
“This is deeply irresponsible for a high-ranking politician. I hope his comments are not seen as undermining wider support for and commitment to support Ukraine after Putin’s unprovoked invasion.”
Corbyn is currently in parliament as an independent MP after Labor withdrew the whip for saying anti-Semitism in the party was exaggerated for political reasons.
He was also expelled from the party, although he was reinstated by the membership.
Al Mayadeen was founded in 2012 by journalists and executives from Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya, some of whom were appalled by their criticism of Syrian rulers.
Ukrainian artillery crews are pictured near the front line in Kharkov, where they used guns supplied by the West to shell Russian positions
The head of news at the time was married to a PR adviser to dictator Assad – also a close ally of Russia – and is accused of gaining support from his regime.
The station has also been accused of gaining support from Iran, though it has denied all of these allegations. Past guests have included George Galloway.
Britain has been one of the largest suppliers of military aid to Ukraine, ramping up to deliver anti-tank launchers even before Putin ordered his invasion.
Kiev said the weapons were invaluable in destroying convoys of tanks and trucks bound for the capital in the early days of the war.
Britain has also provided valuable anti-aircraft guns to protect Ukrainian cities from Russian jets and cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles to guard the coast, and long-range missile artillery to blow up ammunition depots and command posts.
Russia is currently five months into what should have been a days-long war in Ukraine, with its main offensive largely stalled.
The Kiev men are now trying to undo some of the territorial gains Putin’s men have made since late February and target the southern city of Kherson.
President Zelensky has acknowledged the ultimate need for a peace deal, but says it is up to the Ukrainian people to choose when and under what conditions the war will end.
“We have no right to do this… this land belongs to the Ukrainian people,” he said in a recent interview.
Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president, recently said that peace will be “on our terms” — without explaining exactly what that means.
Before the war, Moscow had demanded that Ukraine agree never to join NATO, cede territory in the eastern Donbas, and that the alliance withdraw all troops from ex-Soviet states — terms categorically excluded by allies and the US .