Jeremy Corbyn criticises UK for sending weapons to Ukraine and 'prolonging' Russia's invasion

2 August 2022, 18:47 | Updated: 2 August 2022, 19:21

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised the UK and the West for supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying “pouring arms in” will only “prolong and exaggerate” the war.
Jeremy Corbyn has criticised the UK and the West for supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying “pouring arms in” will only “prolong and exaggerate” the war. Picture: Al Mayadeen English

By Sophie Barnett

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the UK and the West for supplying Ukraine with weapons and "prolonging and exaggerating" Russia's war.

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The former Labour leader, who refused to blame Russia for the Salisbury poisonings in 2018, said that "pouring arms in isn't gonna bring back a solution".

Instead he urged the West to try and secure a peace deal with Vladimir Putin to bring the conflict to an end.

Speaking in an interview with Al Mayadeen, an independent Arab satellite news channel, the Independent MP for Islington North said it was “disappointing” that “hardly any of the world’s leaders use the word peace” when discussing the invasion.

He claimed too many “use the language of more war and more bellicose war”.

He said: “Ukrainians are dying, Ukrainians have gone into exile, thousands and thousands, and Russian soldiers are dying, conscripted young Russian soldiers are dying. This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia and for the safety and security of the whole world. And therefore there has to be more, much more effort, put into peace.”

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If the UN cannot help, Mr Corbyn suggested, then the African Union or Arab League - which includes Syria - should mediate because they "have no direct economic interest one way or the other".

His comments are likely to prompt a backlash from Labour MPs, including his successor Keir Starmer, and Conservatives.

The UK has sent hundreds of millions of pounds worth of military aid to Ukraine since Russia's barbaric invasion back in February.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the country's heroic president, has praised Boris Johnson and the UK for standing by his country and providing support.

Read more: Man caught at Windsor Castle with crossbow charged with treason and intent to injure the Queen

However, Mr Corbyn criticised the decision to send weapons, saying: “Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution. It is only going to prolong and exaggerate this war."

Mr Zelenksyy has made it clear that he will not agree to cede any land to Russia to secure a peace deal.

Vladimir Putin needs to 'withdraw his war machine', says Boris Johnson

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee and a former defence minister, told The Telegraph: "[Corbyn] is illustrating yet again why he would have been such an inappropriate prime minister for the nation.

"He doesn’t understand that the geopolitical consequences of supporting democracy occasionally means using hard power.

"This is deeply irresponsible for a senior politician. I hope his comments are not seen to undermine the wider support for, and the commitment to, supporting Ukraine following this unprovoked invasion by Putin."

Mr Corbyn currently sits in parliament as an independent MP after having the whip withdrawn by Labour because he said anti-Semitism in the party had been overstated for political reasons.

He was also kicked out of the party, though he was reinstated by the membership.

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