UKIP Statement on Nigel Farage and Russian President, Vladimir Putin
UKIP leader Nigel Farage apologised this morning for comments that could be taken to encourage Vladimir Putin's recent actions in Ukraine.
Interviewed in this month's GQ, Mr Farage said that he admired Mr Putin "as an operator, not a human being" and singled out Western governments and the EU as mutually culpable for the civil war in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine. Of the latter, Mr Farage noted,
“In the case of the Ukraine, Brussels has for many years been feeding an entirely unrealistic dream of a future as an EU member state and large net recipient of funds.
“This has encouraged brave young men and women in western Ukraine to rebel to the point of toppling a legitimate president and led to the utterly predictable debacle whereby Vladimir Putin has annexed part of the country and now casts a long shadow over hopes of genuine democracy in the rest of it."
In his statement to the press today Mr Farage said
"I apologise unreservedly for creating the impression that the Ukrainian uprising was a crisis cooked up in Brussels and Washington, and making comments that might give succour to the Russian leader."
Speaking for UKIP's national executive, Lucy Bostick and Andrew Moncreiff said
"UKIP welcomes Nigel's retraction. A large number of our members were concerned that he was speaking for the party on this matter when as a libertarian party UKIP has no truck with authoritarian leaders and demagogues. No one is bigger than our party, and that includes the leader."