Friday, June 21, 2024

Putin has been ‘set on’ Ukraine invasion for over a year, says Wallace

Asked whether the West failed in its mission to dissuade Russia from invasion, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace suggested Vladimir Putin had his mind made up all along.

He referred to a newspaper article he wrote in January arguing the Russian president was beyond persuasion.

“Putin has been set on this for many, many months, certainly over a year,” he told Sky News.

Mr Wallace said it appeared the West’s efforts on diplomacy “didn’t matter” as Mr Putin’s plan had always been about “greed” and wanting to “land grab”.

He also brought up comments he made previously that there was a “whiff of Munich” – referring to the diplomatic talks that failed to stop the Second World War – which he was criticised for at the time.

Mr Wallace said he had never been suggesting Western allies were trying to appease Mr Putin, but instead he believed the Russian leader – much like Adolf Hitler – had a plan to invade all along and the talks were a “straw man attempt to buy time”.

And, in another historical reference, the defence secretary had also previously described Mr Putin as having gone “full tonto” – likening him to Tsar Nicholas I having no allies when he invaded Crimea.

Asked about this comment, Mr Wallace stood by this and described the Russian president as “deeply irrational”.

“No-one else in their right mind would do what we are seeing on our telly screens today,” he said.

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