Diane Abbott accused of dreadful statement about 'one of the most evil men on the planet'

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Diane Abbott accused of dreadful statement about 'one of the most evil men on the planet'

Ukraine: Diane Abbott calls for de-escalation and dialogueIn a video viewed widely online and filmed before Russia invaded its neighbour, the Labou

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Ukraine: Diane Abbott calls for de-escalation and dialogue

In a video viewed widely online and filmed before Russia invaded its neighbour, the Labour MP blamed the eastward expansion of the military alliance for destabilising the region. She said: “We see that the United States has decided that it needs to send US and other Nato troops to Russia’s borders.

“This alone should tell us that the claims Russia is the aggressor should be treated sceptically. The destabilisation in the entire region comes from the continued eastward expansion of Nato.”

The remarks by Jeremy Corbyn’s former Shadow Home Secretary led journalist Michael Crick to tweet on Thursday: “A dreadful statement by Diane Abbott which will only give comfort to one of the most evil men on the planet.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Russian forces into Ukraine by land, sea and air on February 24 in what he described as a special military operation aimed at toppling the country’s government.

Since then one million people have been displaced by the fighting with hundreds killed or injured.

Abbott

Remarks made by Diane Abbott will bring comfort to Vladimir Putin, Michael Crick said (Image: Getty)

A view of damaged building following a shelling in Ukraine's second-biggest city of Kharkiv

A view of a damaged building following a shelling in Ukraine’s second-biggest city of Kharkiv (Image: Getty)

In her video, Ms Abbott called for peaceful solutions to a complicated conflict of identities and national rights.

She added: “But the approach of the British Government and others is in the opposite direction. The United States has only just ended one disastrous, prolonged war in Afghanistan and many here seem to be gung ho about starting another one.

“The public is opposed to war with Russia which would be extremely dangerous for all sides, not least the people of Ukraine.”

She concluded by calling for de-escalation and dialogue rather than militarisation and threats of war.

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Jeremy Corbyn MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP (Image: Getty)

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Lugansk

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Lugansk (Image: Getty)

It comes as a man waving a Ukrainian flag interrupted the end of Mr Corbyn’s speech at a Stop the War coalition event in London.

The man burst into Conway Hall, shouting at the former Labour leader on Tuesday evening but he was inaudible over the sound of the crowd.

He was forcibly removed by a group of men as Mr Corbyn left the stage before later exiting the building by the back entrance onto Red Lion Street.

In a statement issued earlier this month on Ukraine, Stop the War accused the British Government of “aggressive posturing” and that Nato “should call a halt to its eastward expansion”.

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Nato forces line up against Russia (Image: Express)

The statement was signed by Mr Corbyn as well as by 11 Labour MPs who were later ordered to withdraw their support under threat of having the whip removed by the party.

Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery, Beth Winter, Zarah Sultana, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Apsana Begum, Mick Whitley, Tahir Ali, and Ian Mearns signed the statement.

Mr Corbyn also signed the letter as did fellow MP Claudia Webbe both of whom now sit as independents.

A Labour spokesperson said the small number of Labour MPs who signed the statement all withdrew their names.

A child looks out from a carriage window as a train prepares to depart from a station in Lviv

A child looks out from a carriage window as a train prepares to depart from a station in Lviv (Image: Getty)

They added: “This shows Labour is under new management. With Keir Starmer’s leadership there will never be any confusion about whose side Labour is on – Britain, Nato, freedom and democracy – and every Labour MP now understands that.”

However, Andrew Scattergood, co-chairman of left-wing campaign group Momentum, said last month: “These MPs’ steadfast commitment to the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s invasion is beyond question.

“Indeed, many of them have led the criticism of Putin’s act of aggression today, forcefully and without reservation.

“It beggars belief that the Labour leadership instead focuses on a week-old statement in an attempt to wage factional warfare against them, while a real war wages on against the Ukrainian people.”

Ms Abbott has been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, a poll on Friday showed that a majority of Swedes are in favour of joining Nato with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spurring a rapid shift in attitudes in a country long known for neutrality.

Sweden has not taken part in a war since 1814 and has built its foreign policy on non-participation in military alliances.

It remained neutral throughout World War Two even as neighbouring Nordic countries were invaded. It adopted the same position during the Cold War.

A poll by Demoskop and commissioned by Aftonbladet newspaper showed 51 percent of Swedes are now in favour of Nato, up from 42 percent in January.

People against joining fell to 27 percent from 37 percent. It is the first time such a poll has shown a majority in favour.

However, Sweden’s Defence Minister, Peter Hultqvist, said joining the alliance was neither an easy decision nor one that could be rushed based on recent events alone.

Russia’s invasion is also causing a rapidly growing number of Finns to support membership.

A poll by public broadcaster Yle last revealed 53 percent of Finns are in favour of joining. A corresponding figure in a poll by Helsingin Sanomat newspaper was 28 percent in late January.



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