Andrew Marr: It's time to start ‘plunging back into the wartime realities of Ukraine we spend so much time avoiding’

20 July 2023, 18:31

Andrew Marr on the war in Ukraine

By Jenny Medlicott

It's 18 months since the war in Ukraine broke out and despite continued efforts to look away, its impacts remain ever-present, forcing people "to turn back around" and think again, Andrew Marr has said.

Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter took an opportunity to turn the conversation back to what's happening in Ukraine.

He said: "We know it's going on, don’t we, every bloody day. This European war is mashing toddlers to pieces, blowing off the arms and legs of people just like us - schoolteachers, shopkeepers, accountants - it’s burning cities and towns, ripping through once peaceful forests, turning vegetable fields into graveyards.

"And we know this. we're not stupid. But again and again we try to turn our heads away and stop looking. And again and again, the reality of this war forces us to turn around, and look, and think again.

"In a way, the weird rules of British politics have given me a wonderful chance tonight, I’m not allowed because of the three by-elections going on, to do my usual take on what's happening at Westminster or in politics generally.

"If I tried, burly men in high vis jackets would tie me up with gaffer tape and stick me in a dank basement somewhere under the parliamentary press gallery. Or whatever."

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Marr continued: "So we are almost obliged to talk about Ukraine - and let's remember that this war has already distorted British politics itself into almost unrecognisable shapes.

"It gave Boris Johnson his one moment, his one moment, of moral authority.

"It made many people think again about the reality of refugees, and taking them into our homes.

"Above all, it brought us this horrible inflation, first with fuel, and then food, which has ravaged so many household budgets up and down the country.

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"Had Putin not invaded Ukraine, the last year in British politics would have felt very different. And it goes on.

"Yesterday, as Russia mined sea lanes in the Black Sea and warned that grain ships from Ukraine were no longer safe from attack, wheat prices on the European stock exchange rose by more than 8% .

"The same thing happened in America. Corn prices were up five and a half percent. So that’s something you’re eventually going to notice? You bet you are.

"Now, with MI6 this week openly asking Russians to work with it against Putin, and the Ukranian counter offensive grinding on, I'm going to start by plunging us back into those wartime realities we spend so much time avoiding."