Starmer Claims 'Anti-Imperialist Principle' for Ukraine's 'Right' to Join NATO

© REUTERS / BBCBritish Labour Party leader Starmer appears on BBC's Sunday Morning show
British Labour Party leader Starmer appears on BBC's Sunday Morning show - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took a break from demanding PM Boris Johnson resign to praise his government's arms exports to arm Ukrainian far-right battalions now incorporated into the army — but dredged up claims the ruling Tories took donations from Russian oligarchs.
Britain's opposition leader has claimed Ukraine's "right" to join the NATO Western military bloc is a matter of "anti-imperialist principle".
In a column for Saturday's Daily Telegraph Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also called for a "registration of overseas entities" law to single out Russian-owned companies for scrutiny — the same move Russia has been criticised for in the West.
He said his party was "proud of our role in creating NATO" in the late 1940s, when the UK, US and France turned against the USSR — their recent ally in the Second World War against European and Japanese fascism.
But Starmer's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn insisted in 2017 that the alliance should be disbanded as a out-of-date "cold war institution".
The former director of public prosecutions repeated discredited claims that Russian military exercises hundreds of miles within its territory amounted to Russian President Vladimir Putin deploying "100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border."
"The situation on the Ukrainian border is an attempt by Putin to re-establish Russian force as a means of dominance over parts of Europe," Starmer claimed. "And it is a direct threat to the anti-imperialist principle that sovereign nations are free to choose their own allies and their own way of life."
"Russian demands that Ukraine give up its desires to join NATO and the EU should not be entertained," Starmer reiterated.
Starmer also praised Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for the government's decision to supply the Ukrainian army with 2,000 MBT LAW anti-tank missiles. But he neglected to mention that Ukraine has incorporated several neo-Nazi militias into its regular armed forces since 2014, including the notorious Aidar and Azov battalions that formed the insurrectionist vanguard of the Euromaidan coup that year.
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Starmer took a break from his repeated calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign, saying it was time for the Conservative government to "step up and lead" in the Western military bloc.
"Divisions within NATO have emboldened Putin," he wrote in an apparent dig at US President Joe Biden's comment that he would not respond to a "minor incursion" by Russia. "For too long the implicit message to Moscow has been that Putin can do what he likes and the West will do little to retaliate."

"Nobody envisages British and allied troops being dragged into war," the Labour leader claimed. "But we need to work with allies to use our collective resources, including sanctions, to show Russia the actions it takes will have consequences."

Starmer said he had met Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko this week — just as Ukrainian opposition leaders liaised with US ambassador in Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt during the Maidan Square riots — and pledged "resolute" support for Ukrainian "territorial integrity".
The regime in Kiev still claims sovereignty over The Crimea, whose people voted by over 90 per cent to reunite with Russia in 2014, and the self-declared Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk — while refusing to honour its commitments under the Minsk treaties
Starmer echoed Washington's demand for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany be side-lined in favour of expensive Liquified Petroleum Gas from the US, insisting that "Europe’s over-reliance on Russian energy supplies must be addressed."
But the opposition leader showed his partisan cards when he tried to dredge up old claims that the Tories were funded by Russian oligarchs — and that Moscow had somehow influenced the outcome of the 2016 EU membership referendum.
"The Government must act on the recommendations in the intelligence and security committee’s Russia report," he demanded, calling for "a register of members of the Lords or Commons who serve on the boards of overseas companies."
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