West 'should have done more' to stop Putin over last 20 years, says David Lammy

14 February 2022, 23:31

David Lammy questioned whether the UK government had been "too weak" in their response to Russia
David Lammy questioned whether the UK government had been "too weak" in their response to Russia. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Ukraine may not have been at risk of invasion if the west had "squeezed Putin and the plutocrats and Kleptocracts" more over the last two decades, David Lammy has argued.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

David's remarks have come after Boris Johnson agreed with US President Joe Biden that there is still a "crucial window for diplomacy" amid tension in Ukraine.

He questioned whether the UK government had been "too weak" in their response to Russian aggression over the last 20 years highlighting the lack of retaliation in response to the Salisbury poisonings.

Talking about the developing Ukraine crisis during the opening of his show on Monday night, he told LBC listeners: "It begs a question, has the West been too weak in standing up to Vladimir Putin over the last 20 or so years? We’ve reached this crisis point but has the strategy been all wrong?

Read more: PM and Biden agree 'crucial window for diplomacy' remains with Russia amid invasion threat

Read more: Biggest London Tube and bus fare hike in a decade announced by Sadiq Khan

"Should we have done more when he moved into Ukriane in 2014?

"Should we have done more when he annexed Crimea at the same time?

"Should we have done more when he Georgia?

"Should we have done more in supporting opposition groups in Russia because of his despotic rule, because of the way he dealt with opposition leaders?

"Should we have done more when he poisoned British Nationals on our own soil? Other assassination attempts across Europe, in Germany and other places.

"Should we have done considerably more dealing with the dirty money, with the way in which Russian oligarchs school their children in British private schools and buy property here in London?

"Should we have squeezed Putin and those plutocrats and kleptocracts much much harder, made sure that they could never have got away with as much as they have got away with?

"And had we done that, had we been stronger, stood up to him over two decades ago would we be in this position now?

"That’s the questions, how do you deal with bullies?"

Adding: "Are we all now playing catch-up? Is it just a little too little too late?"