|UK politician Farage deals decisive blow to ‘imperialist’ LibDems
British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage (Pictured left, debating with LibDem Deputy Prime Minister Nigel Clegg) came under fire for saying the EU was to blame for provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex Ukraine.
Farage, the head of the UK Independence Party, said in a televised debate with Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday the EU had “blood on its hands.''
A poll suggested Farage prevailed in the debate broadcast on Sky and UK state-owned BBC.
A YouGov poll of 1,003 people published immediately after the debate showed that 57 percent thought Farage had performed better, compared with 36 percent for Clegg, AFP reports.
Britain had encouraged the 28-member bloc to pursue an “imperialist, expansionist'' agenda in Ukraine, which had led to the uprising in Kiev and Russia's absorption of Crimea earlier this month, said Farage.
“We should hang our heads in shame,'' Farage said in the debate, the first of two with Clegg focusing on Britain's relationship with Europe.
“We have given a false series of hopes to a group of people in the western Ukraine and so geed up were they that they actually toppled their own elected leader.
“That provoked Mr Putin and I think the European Union, frankly, does have blood on its hands in the Ukraine.''
Protests erupted in Ukraine last November after now-toppled president Viktor Yanukovych suspended talks on a historic trade and political pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Clegg accused Farage of siding with Putin.
“It shows quite how extreme people can be like Nigel Farage when their loathing of the European Union becomes so all-consuming that they even end up siding with Vladimir Putin in order to make their point,'' he said in a radio interview today.
Clegg said it was “perverse'' and “insulting'' to suggest it that the uprising in Ukraine was the EU's fault.
“For Nigel Farage to side with Vladimir Putin, he will have to explain why he did so. I was astounded. It was in many ways the most striking, if not shocking, new revelation that came to light'' in the debate, he added.
Farage's party is expected to make large gains in elections for the European Parliament on May 22, while Clegg's is expected to fare badly.