Having demanded on Friday, June 14 that – as the new political leader of the UK’s Reform party – he should be included in the BBC’s planned series of leaders’ interviews in the run up to the UK’s July 4 General Election, Nigel Farage has caused a stir with his comments.

During an interview with the BBC’s Panorama program on Friday, June 21, in addition to the usual questions on tax and the National Health Service, the controversial politician was quizzed about his views on the causes of the war in Ukraine.

The interviewer, Nick Robinson, challenged Farage about remarks he made in 2014 in which he stated his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Farage said that while he personally disliked the Russian leader, he “admired him as a political operator” because of the extent of the control he had succeeded in achieving over Russia.


Robinson then asked Farage about a social media post he made in February 2022 in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In the post, Farage suggested the cause had been poking “the Russian bear with a stick” – a reference to the EU and NATO’s eastward expansion.

Farage answered: “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 say to the Russian people, ‘They’re coming for us again,’ and to go to war.”

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Pressed by Robinson if he meant that “we [in the West] provoked the invasion of Ukraine”, Farage replied: “Yes.”

He then added: “We caused this war. Of course it is his [Putin’s] fault, but he has used what we have done as an excuse.”

Farage’s views on the war in Ukraine are in stark contrast to that of most UK politicians who have long accused the Reform leader of being an apologist for the Russian president and, perhaps ironically, a vociferous supporter of former US president Donald Trump.


Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was “clearly ridiculous” [for Putin] to blame the West for the war. “Russia carried out an illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” he asserted.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, eight years after it illegally occupied the Crimean Peninsula and Donbas regions. Ukraine is not a member of either the EU or NATO but had made its ambition to join both blocs clear long before the full-scale Russian invasion, which has in fact strengthened the case for membership of both.

Reform is a center-right UK party is seen as a disruptor to the mainstays of British politics – the ruling Conservative party and its main opposition, the Labour party. Current polling indicates that Labour is in the lead, which – if proved right – would see Sunak hand over the keys to 10 Downing Street to Sir Keir Starmer. Whilst Farage has admitted that Reform would not stand a chance of winning the 2024 General Election, he has his eye on 2029.

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