Nigel Farage accuses Boris Johnson of being a ‘hypocrite’ in Ukraine row

‘Boris, you are a liar and a hypocrite,’ Reform UK leader Nigel Farage said, in a row over his position on Ukraine.

Nigel Farage has criticised Boris Johnson
Nigel Farage has criticised Boris Johnson (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Nigel Farage has criticised Boris Johnson, after the former prime minister accused him of writing “nauseating ahistorical drivel” about Ukraine.

The Reform UK leader said on the BBC’s The Panorama Interviews Friday programme that “we provoked this war”, in reference to countries in eastern Europe signing up to Nato and the European Union, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Farage, writing in the Telegraph on Saturday, urged readers not to “blame” him for “telling the truth about Putin’s war”.

Mr Johnson shared the article on X, formerly Twitter, calling Mr Farage’s views “morally repugnant”.

Mr Farage said: “Boris, you are a liar and a hypocrite.

“I am glad you are no longer prime minister of this country.”

Mr Farage’s tweet on Monday also featured a copy of the i newspaper’s front page from May 10, 2016, with the headline “Boris blames EU for war in Ukraine”.

Referring to the Telegraph article, Mr Johnson had written: “This is nauseating ahistorical drivel and more Kremlin propaganda.

“Nobody provoked Putin. Nobody ‘poked the bear with a stick’.

“The people of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly in 1991 to be a sovereign and independent country.

“They were perfectly entitled to seek both Nato and EU membership. There is only one person responsible for Russian aggression against Ukraine – both in 2014 and 2022 – and that is Putin.

“To try to spread the blame is morally repugnant and parroting Putin’s lies.”

According to the i newspaper, Mr Johnson said in the run-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016: “If you want an example of EU foreign policy making on the hoof, and the EU’s pretensions to running a defence policy that have caused real trouble, then look at what has happened in Ukraine.”

Former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw replied at the time: “If further evidence were needed about the careless disregard for our security demonstrated by Leave campaigners, by being a Putin apologist, Johnson has provided it.”

In Friday’s BBC interview, Mr Farage said: “Right, I’ll tell you what you don’t know, I stood up in the European Parliament in 2014 and I said, and I quote, ‘there will be a war in Ukraine’.

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson both campaigned to leave the European Union in 2016
Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson both campaigned to leave the European Union in 2016 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“Why did I say that? It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of Nato and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, ‘they’re coming for us again’ and to go to war.”

Asked about his views of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Mr Farage said: “I said I disliked him as a person, but I admired him as a political operator because he’s managed to take control of running Russia.”

Mr Putin has served continuously as either Russian president or prime minister since 1999, with elections which have been described as “rigged”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly accused Mr Farage of “echoing Putin’s vile justification for the brutal invasion of Ukraine” and Labour shadow defence secretary John Healey said Mr Farage was “a Putin apologist who should never be trusted with our nation’s security”.