Western countries must stop “playing war games” in Ukraine and “poking the Russian bear with a stick” and instead work with Vladimir Putin to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, Nigel Farage has said.
Speaking to the European Parliament, the UKIP leader said that Putin is “on our side” in the battle against Islamist extremism, and accused to EU of helping start the ongoing conflict in Ukraine by “directly encouraging” the uprising that toppled Viktor Yanukovich, which “led in turn to Vladimir Putin reacting”.
The Russian President has also been blamed by the West for prolonging the Syria crisis by supporting dictator Bashar al Assad, thus allowing ISIS to grow in power as the rebellion stalled. Putin has repeatedly blocked motions of censure against against the Assad regime in the United Nations.
Mr Farage said, however, the West needs Putin on side if it is to defeat ISIS, an enemy that presents much more of a threat than Russia.
He told the European Parliament: “Perhaps we better recognise that the West faces the biggest threat and crisis to our way of life we have seen for over 70 years.
“The recent beheadings of the British and American hostages graphically illustrates the problem and of course we have our own citizens from our won countries engaged in that struggle too.
“In the war against Islamic extremism, whatever we may think of [Putin] as a human being, he is actually on our side.
“I suggest we grow up, I suggest we recognise the real threat facing all of our countries, communities and societies, we stop playing war games in the Ukraine and we start to prepare a plan like Syria, like Iraq, like Kenya like Nigeria or Syria and help the deal with the real threat that faces us. Let’s not go on provoking Putin whether we like him or not.”