Andrew Marr: 'Escalation in the Ukraine war is appallingly possible after alleged Putin assassination attempt'

4 May 2023, 18:12

Andrew Marr on Thursday
Andrew Marr on Thursday. Picture: LBC

By Kit Heren

Andrew Marr has warned that Russian aggression could spread outside the war in Ukraine, after the Kremlin blamed the US for an alleged assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin.

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Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr on Thursday, the presenter said that wars "are never stable" and "mutate".

It comes after Russian forces shot down a drone over the Kremlin on Wednesday, which they blamed initially on Ukraine, before assigning overall responsibility to the US. The White House and Ukraine have both denied any link to the attack.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy should be "physically eliminated" after the alleged attack. A series of Russian strikes in retaliation for the alleged attempt on Mr Putin's life claimed at least 21 lives in Ukraine on Thursday.

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Andrew said: "This is, so far, only verbal, thank God: but there is certainly a war of words going on today within the United States and Russia over the alleged assassination attempt in Moscow against President Putin.

"The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that such terrorist attacks were ordered always by Washington with the Ukrainians simply carrying out orders: 'Washington is definitely behind this attack.'

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"To which John Kirby, spokesman for the United States national Security Council replied: 'We had nothing to do with this. Peskov is just lying there, pure and simple.'

"Ramming home the message, he added: 'We’ve been clear with them publicly and we’ve been clear with them privately that we do not encourage nor do we enable them to strike outside Ukraine.'

"Why does this matter? Because, with a major spring offensive supposedly just about to happen against the Russian forces, the mood in Moscow is becoming much angrier and more belligerent, not just against Kyiv but against Washington too.

"Insofar as a war can ever be stable, this conflict has seemed relatively so over recent months - a bloody, vicious but relatively unmoving front line.

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"But wars are never stable. They mutate. They expand. They escalate. At about the same time Ukraine's president Zelensky was at The Hague in the Netherlands, headquarters of the United Nations international court of justice, calling for Putin to be tried there for aggression against his country. He wants Ukraine to be part of Nato as soon as the war is won - and Nato fighter jets now.

"On all sides, escalation is appallingly possible. If we’d lulled ourselves into thinking over the spring that this war is not a very serious, near-at-hand threat to world peace, we should really be reconsidering that now.

"Just before we came on air I was joined by general Sir Richard Shirreff, the former Nato deputy supreme allied commander, Europe, who is just back from Kyiv. I began by suggesting to him that the Russian now regard this as a war against the West."