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9 April 2015, 17:34
In the LBC Women Leaders' Debates, Ukip spokesperson Diane James said she "admired" the strength of Vladimir Putin.
On a question about Russian agression in eastern Europe, Ukip's Diane James said that she admired Vladimir Putin for his strength and because he puts Russian interests first.
"I admire him (Putin) from the point of view that he is standing up for his country."
Iain Dale: "By invading others?"
"No, he’s standing up for his country. He’s very nationalist."
The members of the debate were given the hypothetical situation of responding to a Russian invasion of Latvia. The Harriet Harman or Labour and Lynne Featherstone of the Liberal Democrats spoke of working with other countries to form a unified response and exploring further sanctions, while Nicky Morgan spoke of a need to 'stand up to bullies'.
Diane didn't view Putin's expansionary moves so far, like the invasion of Crimea, as those of a bully, but those of a strong leader protecting his people.
"He is a very strong leader. He is putting Russia first and he has issues with the way the EU encouraged a change of government in the Ukraine which put at risk, put at danger, a Russian population in that country."