Establishment Freakout as Nigel Farage Suggests NATO Expansion ‘Provoked’ Russian War in Ukraine

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: (EDITORS NOTE: This handout image was provided by a third-party
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The British political establishment went into full meltdown on Friday as Reform UK leader Nigel Farage suggested that Western expansionist policies in Ukraine “provoked” the Russian invasion, despite the sentiment previously being expressed by the head of NATO and senior leadership in Kyiv.

In an apparent re-run of attempts to tarnish the Brexit movement with debunked claims of Russian influence, top political and media figures in Britain have once again tried to use the issue of Russia to derail Nigel Farage as his Reform party soars in the polls ahead of the July 4th general election.

Mr Farage sparked the conniption during an interview with BBC Panorama published on Friday, in which he said: “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.”

“We provoked this war. It’s… you know, of course, it’s his fault, he’s used what we’ve done as an excuse.”

Such sentiments have become taboo in Britain, with both establishment Westminster political parties largely rallying around the war in Ukraine, which the UK has been a top funder of. It is therefore unsurprising that both the Conservative and Labour parties immediately chastised Mr Farage’s comments.

Conservative Home Secretary James Cleverly accused the Brexit leader of “echoing Putin’s vile justification for the brutal invasion of Ukraine”. Meanwhile, Labour defence spokesman John Healey said the comments made Mr Farage “unfit for any political office in our country, let alone leading a serious party in Parliament”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is predicted to be on pace for an election defeat of historic proportions in large part due to Mr Farage’s decision to return to frontline politics, said that the Reform UK leader was “completely wrong” and that his comments “play into Putin’s hands”.

“This is a man (Putin) who deployed nerve agents on the streets of Britain, who’s 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,” Sunak added.

The leader of the opposition — and likely next prime minister — Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer echoed Sunak, saying Farage’s 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,” the left-wing leader said.

However, Mr Farage’s diagnosis that attempts to expand both the European Union and NATO to Russia’s doorstep played a role in provoking the 2022 invasion of Ukraine has previously been expressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, himself, who appeared to boast that the invasion made NATO enlargement more likely, and therefore the invasion had backfired against Putin’s desire to halt the expansion of the American-led alliance.

Speaking before the European Parliament in September of 2023, Stoltenberg said: “The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t sign that.

“The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that. So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”

Even members of Ukrainian President Zelensky’s team appeared to realise before the invasion that joining the Western military alliance would likely spark a war with Russia, with former senior advisor Oleksiy Arestovych saying in 2019 according to Intellinews that “with a 99.9 per cent probability, our price for joining NATO is a big war with Russia.” Arestovych argued this was a price worth paying, however, claiming that otherwise, Russia would merely seek to “absorb” Ukraine in the coming years, regardless.

Responding to the outrage over his comments, Mr Farage said: “I am one of the few figures that have been consistent and honest about the war with Russia. Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward. The sooner we realise this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace.”

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