Kremlin is 'stupid as well as evil', says ex defence sec

5 April 2022, 18:31 | Updated: 5 April 2022, 18:43

By Daisy Stephens

A former Tory defence secretary has told LBC that Russia's response to the Bucha massacres show the Kremlin is "stupid as well as evil".

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Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Conservative MP and defence secretary under John Major, laid out what Russia should have said in response to allegations of torture and mass killings in newly-liberated towns.

"What does surprise me is not that horrific things happen in war, that is sadly the case," he told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Pierce.

"But you know the Russian government at the moment are being particularly stupid as well as evil in many ways.

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He went on: "At the very least what they should have been saying is: we are deeply disturbed by these reports and what is alleged Russian soldiers did, we will need to study the evidence, we will need to look to see why people are claiming this, we will then have our own investigation.

"That's what they could have said, it wouldn't have been quite so bad as the attempt simply to present that the Ukrainians had done it although they didn't even control the territory when these murders took place."

Sir Malcolm also said Russia had become a "pariah state" under Putin.

"This is the biggest global story of the moment, this is a story being covered throughout the world, and the net effect for a country that was already sadly becoming a pariah state is to add war crimes and atrocities on top of aggression and invasion," he siad.

"So even if [Putin] was trying to hoodwink the Russian people, inevitably Russia again shows its insensitivity and its inability to present itself as a civilised country with a civilised government.

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"And that would be tragic in any part of the world but Russia ought to be a civilised country.

"It's a county of Tchaikovsky, of Tolstoy, one of the great countries of western culture and civilisation, although it has its own particular characteristics.

"So it is sad that the image of Russia - not just the image, the reality of Russia - because of Putin, because of the government he represents, is being so tarnished throughout the world."